Western Maricopa Education Center
In 2010, an aviation and related specialty training center for high school and adult students was added to the Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC).
The creative use of material and systems coupled with the economies of a pre-engineered metal building provide West-MEC the most most value for its building investment. The 47,000 SF building includes seven classrooms, training labs, meeting spaces, a library, computer labs and offices surrounding a 20,000 SF aircraft hangar which is home to four small planes with ancillary engines and parts for hands-on training.
Expressions from a plane fuselage are found throughout the building, from the exterior shell to the interior lobby lighting details inspired by overhead light consoles in an aircraft. Bright colored banding on the walls emulates the aircraft fetailing on a small plane. These visual cues help students and visitors immediately understand they have entered a place of aviation study.
The main conference room is inspired by the interior of a private jet. Walls angle and merge into the ceiling plane to create the unique impression of being in a fuselage. Similar to the communication tools used to navigate on the tarmac, striping and super-graphics guide users into and throughout the building.
The building won the WESTMARC Best of the West Architectural Innovation Award for its design.