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A Colorful New Landmark

Marcy Marro, Managing Editor, Posted 02/28/2013

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A new campus landmark entry experience was part of the renovation of the south campus exterior improvements at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, Calif.

Designed by KBZ Architects Inc., Santa Barbara, Calif., the colorful monumental letters are part of the Antelope Valley Community College District's new identity, forged through the completion of Measure R's enhancement and modernization projects.

The three monumental letters are designed to appeal to a multicultural audience that includes Antelope Valley residents, in addition to students, faculty and visitors who enter the campus each day. Strategically placed at the campus' entrance, the A, V and C letters are visible from the city's busiest streets, increasing the campus' visibility and reinforcing the college's place within the community.

Thierry H. Cassan, AIA, project architect at KBZ Architects, explains that the letters are designed to orient campus users, increase campus visibility and reinforce the college's place within the Antelope Valley community. He notes that the architects wanted accomplish these goals in a vibrant, modern way that would appeal to the area's multicultural residents. "One of the main reasons people go to a college like AVC is to create a better future for themselves," he says. "We wanted the college's signage to reflect the optimistic, forward-looking commitment that each of its students makes."

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The freestanding letters, which are internally illuminated, are 7 feet tall by 1 1/2 feet deep. Spaced an equal distance apart, the letters are set on smooth finished concrete pedestals that gently increase in elevation along the main student entry.

Three monumental letters highlight campus entrance drop-off area. The face of each letter is 1/8-inch-thick powder-coated perforated aluminum backedup with translucent acrylic panels. The back is 1/8-inch-thick powder-coated perforated aluminum backed-up with powder-coated solid black aluminum panels. The sides of the letters are 1/8-inch-thick powder-coated solid aluminum panels. The panels are perforated at 1/8- by 1/16-inch obround at 7/32- by 1 5/16-inch staggered centers, with 45 percent open. The letter's internal structure is 6- by 4- by 3/16-inch tube steel. Internal LED lights dramatically change the letters' daytime appearance through the use of computerized lighting effects. The LED modules are color-controlled with pre-programmed lighting sequences: 34 color jumping, color smooth patterns, light dimming and color-depth. The LEDs were supplied by JS LED Power Inc., Baldwin Park, Calif., and the electrical engineer was CALPEC Engineering Inc., Pasadena, Calif.

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According to Cassan, the main challenge was finding a manufacturer for the project. Since the letters are freestanding, they are more like sculptures than traditional signage. "Most of the signage manufacturers we contacted felt uncomfortable taking on the project due to the sheer size of the letters and self-supporting nature of the forms," he explains. "Fortunately, Vomar Products agreed to take on the challenge, and they did a wonderful job. They made recommendations on some of the materials used to construct the letters. Thanks to them, the installation process was seamless and we were able to keep the overall cost well within budget."

"We always enjoy the challenge of designing creative and nontraditional solutions to a what might otherwise be a traditional project element," he adds.

Entry Signage at Antelope Valley Community College, Lancaster, Calif.

Architect: KBZ Architects Inc., Santa Barbara, Calif.

Electrical engineer: CALPEC Engineering Inc., Pasadena, Calif.

Signage contractor: Vomar Products Inc., Canoga Park, Calif., www.vomarproducts.com

LEDs: JS LED Power Inc., Baldwin Park, Calif., www.jsledpower.com

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