Tech Town

Chattanooga, TN

TechTown is an after school learning environment for hands-on instruction and self-guided study for kids 7 to 17. Designed to serve up to 400 children at a time through a combination of scheduled enrichment courses and mentoring for students working on their own self-designed projects, programs include Robotics and Electronics, Film and Videography, 3D Design and Printing, and Coding and Digital Design.

The program is designed to encourage children to engage learning and problem solving in a self reliant way and the design of the project had to reflect that goal. To that end, the space is designed to feel more like a high-tech startup firm than an educational facility with open work areas interspersed with more intimate collaboration spaces.

A 22,000 square foot interior renovation in an existing building, the primary challenge was to create a space with character in the existing nondescript commercial space. To achieve this the building structure and services were alternately concealed and exposed to create interest and a layering of systems while lighting and visual elements were threaded through to connect the multiple open spaces. The illuminated accent wall typifies this strategy. An illuminated incision weaves its way down the length of the wall which is in turn penetrated by physical and visual connections to adjacent spaces