Operating Engineers Local 3 (OE3) is the largest construction trades union in the country, comprised of men and women who operate heavy equipment on job sites and roadways. The development of a comprehensive master plan lead to the design of a new 15-acre educational campus on a 1,500 acre site. Working in close collaboration with an environmental consultant, landscape architect, and civil engineer we ensured the new campus would be a good neighbor to the various wetlands, native species and plants surrounding the property. OE3 will utilize just 5% of the total site area for training at any one time and the campus core accounts for only 1% of the total land area.
The campus core is composed of seven structures arranged and inspired by the barns and outbuildings of rural farms. The main campus is surrounded by a loop road separating external heavy equipment and maintenance functions from internal pedestrian circulation of the campus core. The heart of the campus is comprised of administration, classrooms and training buildings arranged to create a centralized hyper-social outdoor space where large groups can gather, and decentralized quiet spaces where students and staff can unplug between classes. The arrangement also creates areas for natural habitat, stormwater retention with bio swales and ponds. Other areas dedicated to heavy equipment use and training include a maintenance shop, storage and two-acre covered dig area for training during inclement weather. Covered and open training areas are separated by a series of landscape features and vegetated mounds to help deflect equipment sounds from the instruction core of the campus
The buildings are simple structures appropriate in scale, proportion and form to the typology of the area. Similar to old barn structures which utilized a heavy timber kit-of-parts to construct frames, these buildings utilize pre-engineered frames offering an economy, simplicity and column free interior space for greater training flexibility.