west whiteland township municipal complex
exton, chester county, pennsylvania
institutional and governmental
The West Whiteland Township Municipal Complex was designed to function, in iconic fashion, as a focal element at the terminus of the “Main Street” in the Town Center it occupies and serves to help define. The building is responsive to its immediate site and environs in minimizing disturbance, establishing a street presence, and responding in a sustainable fashion with regard to its location along a bus route within a mixed use community and such design considerations as stormwater management and passive solar heating and cooling. The building aesthetic is intended to comprise a contemporary interpretation of the architectural history and growth of the Township, in providing reference to the vernacular building expressions of the region and comprising a meaningful and functional expression of this institutional building type. Hence, just as the historic development pattern of this area was characterized by westward movement, away from Philadelphia, it begins at its eastern end with a series of simple agrarian shed forms (also expressed at the perimeter at the police carport) and supportive tree columns reminiscent of the farms and forests that once covered the area, but evolves to the west to manifest in more pure modern geometric/urban forms. Through the middle, a canopy, responsive to the sun’s movement across the site is located, configured and articulated via a combination of open, louvered and solid roof elements to maximize passive solar gain in winter, but minimize it throughout the summer. It also serves to provide weather protection at the main/front and side entrances, being expanded into a porte cochere at the latter. It co-exists and is supported by an extended colonnade, or “wicket” structure, that serves to establish a repetitive portico, with reference to the traditional/iconic expression of buildings of such an institutional/governmental identity. Most importantly, the raised cubic Public Meeting Room volume, at the western end of the building, is expressed in large expanses of glass to signify the transparency of the government it houses, and occupies the most focal of locations at Main Street’s terminus.
The site is minimally disturbed, as the police operations occupy the ground floor with relation to the lower topography at the northern portion of the site, and are, thus, accessed at the rear of the building via an extension of Main Street through and under the building. Thus, the front of the building at the upper level is purely pedestrian in nature, otherwise relegating the canopy’s eastern end to provide the porte cochere for pick-up and drop-off functions. This also allows for a generous pedestrian plaza and sitting/meeting place at the front, and serves to establish a direct relationship to the adjacent street. The plaza, then, extends like a “sidewalk” into and throughout the building, allowing the various departments to be accessed off a pedestrian extension of the “street” into the building, at a series of separate “storefronts” located along it. Cee Jay Frederick Associates served in the capacity of lead planning (particularly having developed the plan for the overall mixed use Lifestyle Center within which the Complex is located) and design professional for this project, having responsibility for the site land planning and overall and detailed site design and landscaping, architectural design and documentation and construction administration, interior design, and the development of the interior and exterior signage and wayfinding package of improvements.
Although, technically, an office building, per se, the West Whiteland Municipal Complex is more of a mixed use venue in its need to accommodate its constituency with Meeting Rooms and spaces for different forms of public interaction, provide for the office function of its various departments, and service the administrative and operational components of a municipal police force. As such, the building is configured as a transparent light filled space representative of an open form of governance and conducive to the maximum implementation of a passive solar energy program and philosophy. As a building form, it is directly responsive to the sloping terrain of its site, while defining a street presence given its location at the focal endpoint of the Main Street of the lifestyle community it occupies. The building aesthetic is truly contemporary in its appearance, but nonetheless expressive of the historic evolution of the township from the wooded forests and farm land usage at its eastern end to a more modern and urban orthagonal structure to the west; all of which is strung together by the frontal articulation of an institutional and somewhat prototypically traditional brick colonnade. Cee Jay Frederick Associates had responsibility for all planning and design components of the project, inclusive of the soil reclamation that was performed to prepare the site for building (the land on which the building structure was designated to be built was the site of a former farm pond); application for entitlements/zoning approvals and land planning; site and landscape design; architectural design and documentation, construction administration; and development of a branding, signage and wayfinding graphic and informational package for the site and building components.
Every aspect of the interior design of the West Whiteland Township Municipal Building -- i.e. reception area, workstations, meeting and conference room accommodations, workstations, waiting areas, incidental furnishings, and the interior wayfinding and signage for the building and individual rooms was developed, designed and documented vis-à-vis fabrication, construction, and installation by Cee Jay Frederick Associates as part of the overall architectural design of the interior and exterior of the building. Furnishings and signage selection, customization, fabrication and placement were all performed in strict coordination with each other including even the development of a new Township logo to be incorporated, as part of a branding strategy for the Township. The conceptual premise for the design of the building interior was the extension and interaction of the interior with the exterior. This is most evident in the continuation of the exterior building materials within the building and the street and storefront organization of the access and visitation of the various departments to express that the activities within are truly a part of the community. Significant emphasis was also placed upon the exterior materials that were not used on the interior to effect an iconic contemporary interpretation and image. Most notably, this may be observed in the use of wood at the walls and ceilings in the Public and Community Meeting Rooms. Interaction with the site environs and even the building, itself, is most evident in the strategic use of the exterior glass curtain walls, perimeter fenestration and the interior storefronts, quintessentially in the execution of the Public Meeting Room to effect a most transparent expression of the governance, which is, after all, the essence of all of the building’s functions. Full responsibility was held by Cee Jay Frederick Associates with regard to systems and fixtures selection, materials, colors, and arrangement. Integral to this work was the overall and detailed design of the lighting and lighting controls, as part of the aesthetic and energy efficiency considerations.
signage and wayfinding
Every aspect of the signage design of the West Whiteland Municipal Complex -- i.e. the interior and exterior wayfinding and signage for the overall building and individual rooms, logo for the main entrance doors and graphic identification and standardization at the exterior signposts, building identification, and the site-wide wayfinding and circulation -- was developed, designed and documented vis-à-vis fabrication, construction and installation by Cee Jay Frederick Associates as part of the overall architectural design of the interior and exterior of the building and site and landscape design. Materials, formats, and individual signage content, layout and design, and customization/fabrication were all performed in strict coordination with each other including the development of the new Township logo to be incorporated, as part of a branding strategy for the Township. Full responsibility was had with regard to lighting, colors and placement in the building and on the site, as part of an overall wayfinding plan.