About this project
Project NameTrident Technical College
ArchitectLS3P Associates Ltd.
ContractorMashburn Construction
LocationCharleston, SC
PhotographerRion Rizzo/Creative Sources Photography, Inc.
VeneerBook matched, Sequenced Anigre & Block Mottled Makore

Trident Technical College

Trident Technical College is a two-year, multi-campus institution with an open-door policy located in North Charleston, South Carolina. The College provides lifelong learning opportunities for traditional and nontraditional students that enhance the economic, social and cultural life of the community. In addition, Trident offers continuing education courses and customized education and training for business, industry and government.

Culinary School Gets A Delicious Design

When the college acquired an existing 147,000 square foot warehouse next to the campus it was decided to use it to accommodate training in culinary arts., hospitality and tourism, particularly since the economy of Charleston relies heavily on those trades. The facility was also to accommodate programs for the information technology and electro-mechanical skills training with new lab and instructional space.

Complete design services, including interior design and furniture, were awarded to the firm of LS3P Associates, Ltd., Charleston. Architectural woodwork for the project was fabricated and installed by ONSITE Woodwork Corporation, an AWI member firm located in Loves Park, Illinois.

The building is steel framed with concrete block exterior walls. The front was altered to add a brick and architectural precast steel-framed covered walk and entry. Aluminum composite panels provide a contrast in the exterior materials and relate to the programs accommodated by the building.

The culinary arts, hospitality and tourism program occupies about half of the project building, expanding the successful program that the college had a smaller campus in downtown Charleston. The space includes a 15,000 square foot divisible conferencing center with adjacent pre-function area, executive briefing room, teaching restaurant, amphitheater-style demonstration kitchen, other teaching kitchens, baking kitchens, a catering kitchen and a hospitality training area that includes a mock hotel room.

Design Objectives

Since a major portion of the project dealt with training spaces, explains Richard Bing, AIA of LS3P Associates, the desire existed to have upgraded spaces that had the feeling of true hospitality spaces.

“The use of wood played a major role in the creation of spaces that were large but still maintained a feeling of warmth and intimacy,” he says. “There was a desire to have simple lines and timeless styling,” Bing continues. “In this way, the natural beauty of the wood could be emphasized.”

ONSITE, an AWI member since 1982, provided wall paneling, stile and rail doors, counter and vanity tops, cabinetry and the reception desk for the project. Book matched, sequenced Anigre veneer with a solid Mahogany accent was utilized. Anigre was used in the largest spaces, explains Bing, because of its warmth and light color and the Mahogany accents give the space a multi-toned, contemporary look. Block mottled Makore veneer panels were used in the executive meeting room, creating a “quieter” expression. Backlit onyx panels provide accent lighting in some of the featured woodwork.

The College wanted instructional spaces in teaching kitchens, labs, and classrooms to be visible to the public. To accomplish this, large windows run along the corridors and around the teaching restaurant which is surrounded by the teaching kitchens, allowing visibility from all kitchens into the restaurant. Natural light fills the main entry and student entry as well.

The restaurant is anchored by a plaster column enclosure that punctuates a curved wall of slate and glass tile, and a curved solid surface food and beverage bar that gives scale and visual interest to the space. A large plasma screen displays the food as it is being prepared.

The information technology and electro-mechanical skills training areas include computer labs, a computer room with raised floor, network maintenance and staging areas, and labs for industrial training in the electrical and mechanical aspects of heavy industry.

State of the art audio-visual and information technology systems are provided in all the main spaces and instructional spaces.

According to the architectural firm, the most noteworthy woodwork feature is the curved paneled wall with entry openings, sign holders and custom built-in light fixtures that have hinged onyx panels that open to replace lights.

“Another item that is noteworthy,” says Bing, “is the curved bar in the teaching restaurant. The bar features a solid surface top with a copper laminate base accented with small strip lights under bar edge.”

Greene agrees that the wide entrance to the event room was the most challenging to produce as it is a curved wall of panels that had to have a proper radius.

“Panels are wide and tall and had to tie in with the stile and rail doors, which also had to match with the veneer on the other wall,” he notes. A 45-foot-long compound curved counter on the bar in the dining area was also a challenging design, he adds, as it was made in just two pieces.

“Panels are wide and tall and had to tie in with the stile and rail doors, which also had to match with the veneer on the other wall,” he notes. A 45-foot-long compound curved counter on the bar in the dining area was also a challenging design, he adds, as it was made in just two pieces.