CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Most Austin Peay State University students aren’t relying on the sundial atop the new Hemlock Semiconductor Building to get them to class on time, but Tom Bauer, with Bauer Askew Architecture PLLC, said his firm didn’t want to take any chances. They spent months researching and designing the sundial tower, which serves as a symbol of the solar technology being taught inside the facility, to make sure the archaic time-telling tool was as accurate as possible.
“That was a lot of fun, but it was challenging too,” he said.
The challenge, it appears, has paid off. That working sundial tower was specifically mentioned by several judges with the American Institute of Architect’s Gulf States Region when they presented Bauer Askew Architecture with a prestigious Merit Award for its design of the HSC Building.
The judges’ comments in awarding this project included:
• The building’s “integration of the traditional campus architecture with a twist; we especially like the sundial and solar panel incorporation into the architecture.”
• “A beautiful juxtaposition with respect for the campus vernacular and the building’s unexpected industrial function.”
• “Great contrast of a manufacturing facility designed to be a University focal point; blends in with the surrounding campus while at the same time calling attention to its progressive mission with the bold sunscreen façade and sundial tower.”
The Middle Tennessee Chapter of the AIA also honored the building for its design. Judges for that merit award said, “we loved this very successful marriage of campus vernacular with high-tech showplace. This project perfectly suits its pedagogical purpose, with its (laboratory) on beautifully choreographed display. We felt that the clever solar panel sundial is destined to become a campus landmark.”
The HSC Building opened in September of 2010 to house the University’s new chemical engineering technology associate degree program and laboratory. Bauer Askew Architecture, working in conjunction with Rufus Johnson Associates of Clarksville, designed the facility to retain many of the campus’s traditional, Georgian architectural elements, such as the parapet chimney forms found on the ends of the building. But mixed in with these “traditional” elements is a solar screen shielding a glass-enclosed façade, which highlights the technological work taking place inside.
APSU was previously awarded a $6.4 million grant from the state of Tennessee to develop the chemical engineering technology program, following the December 2008 announcement that Hemlock Semiconductor would build a new production facility in Clarksville. The Michigan-based Hemlock Semiconductor is a leading provider of polycrystalline silicon and other silicon-based products used in the manufacturing of semiconductor devices and solar cells and modules.
In June 2010, the Tennessee Board of Regents approved President Tim Hall’s recommendation to name the new APSU facility in honor of Hemlock Semiconductor Group for its $2 million gift to APSU for the purchase of laboratory equipment for the building. The contribution was one of the largest monetary gifts ever given to APSU.
For more information on the program or on the building, contact Al Westerman at 221-7887 or email@example.com.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Garry Askew and Tom Bauer, with Bauer Askew Architecture, present APSU President Tim Hall and APSU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Tristan Denley with a framed print of the University’s Hemlock Semiconductor Building. (Photo by Beth Liggett/APSU Public Relations)