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Jon Clark

Project Description

The Orlando Center for Architecture and Design (OCAD)

  • The location for our Center is at 170 E. Washington Street and exists on an edge

    • the eastern edge of the downtown commercial district and the western edge of Lake Eola Park where outdoor activities oversee the transition from commercial to residential use.

  • The goal is to take our place as the locking pin or key that connects The Park, The City and The Center to the people who inhabit and form the culture of Orlando.

  • That includes full-time residents, part-time residents and visitors who come to The City for business, education and pleasure.

  • We want to be the key that connects

    •  and the door that opens Orlando to the world.

  • How do we become this key? We will need to blur the lines of disparate activities that exist in proximity to our site

    • like walking the lake,

    • playing frisbee in the park,

    • dropping in for an event at the amphitheater,

    • going to the lake for lunch,

    • visiting the library,

    • attending church services

    • or hooking up with friends at a local pub.

  • All these activities have room for a visit to OCAD.

  • We start by engaging the intersection at E. Washington and N. Rosalind in such a way that ALL will refer to it as OCAD;

    • An appellation that encompasses the actual site, stretches across the intersection and into the Orlando community.

  • It will become a natural wayfinding landmark on the eastern downtown border.



  • Next, we analyze the site; its locations, adjacencies and population (both ready-made and imported).

  • There are opportunities to transition from these activities to our own

    •  by overlapping paths,

    •  creating moments of compression

    • and promoting movement through transitional space.

  • Next, we discover the axes and nodes of energy around our site

    • both horizontally and vertically,

    • mix them with offset edges,

    • shifting planes

    • and wayfinding to create a sense of procession.



  • So, we start with a box defined by zoning.

    • Then we shift the planes inward to create the transitional zones

      • and provide canopies to promote movement through our space.

      • Under the canopies there will be a sidewalk dining area where people can come, drop their burdens and enjoy their morning coffee or lunch overlooking The Park.

  • Next, we want to anchor the corner with a tower creating a diagonal axis from the amphitheater through the tower and straight into the heart of our building.

    • This tower will house the primary gallery for models, art and general exhibits

    • thus engaging the pedestrian and vehicular traffic with anticipation of upcoming displays and events.

  • We, then, capitalize on the views of the park by pronouncing the studios and wrapping them and the tower in glass.

  • To bring the sun into the heart of our building we will remove a large piece in the center connecting us to the city beyond.

  • And, finally, the Theater on the Washington façade is brought out, raised up and our order is rotated 90d

    • to reduce the scale

    • and accentuate the sense of arrival for tours and events hosted by the AIA and OFA.

  • And this is our result…



  • As one enters the building adjacent to the exhibit tower, we have arranged the program to double load and give subtle clues to interior wayfinding.

    •  The galleries are to their right, the gift shop and café are to their left with glass walls that are angled to steer them onto the diagonal axis which leads to the reception desk

      •  located in a sunlight flooded void stretching five stories to the glass roof.

  • By placing the heart and focus of the building in the center, we can locate 100% of our program on the envelope perimeter which effectively gives the occupants access to the surrounding environment and the interior atrium which

    •  cradles the space promoting interaction physically, mentally, visually and aurally from both sides.

  • OCAD will also bring visitors in from afar. They will arrive by planes, trains and automobiles.

  • We will be their starting point, their key, that opens the past, present and future of Orlando to them while they are here.

  • Our events will draw them to the E. Washington entrance whose personality is primarily expressed by the verticality of the Theater entrance on the west end.

  • Arriving through the Theater entrance on the Tour and Event promenade builds on the anticipation of the upcoming experience whether it is a gallery event, lecture or architectural tour.

  • This procession not only connects our visitors to the auditorium but delivers them to the west end of our building’s heart, the atrium.

    • This is the void that connects them to all the people and activity throughout our OCAD home.



  • The ground floor consists of our main atrium in the center that radiates out to the gift shop, café, main gallery, review gallery, community room, large conference, multi-media display, tour promenade and the auditorium.

    • The cross section through the Theater emphasizes that the events and activities held here are not restricted by the boundaries of the building or the site. Their influence will reach out into the community and the Greater Orlando Area.

  • The 2nd floor houses the AIA/OFA functions of the building and has director’s offices in the glass tower and the homecourt conference room all overlooking Lake Eola Park.

    • The various offices, conference rooms and breakrooms exist on the perimeter with balconies that face east and north.

    • All program exits out into the center atrium to promote both horizontal and vertical interaction with the building’s occupants and the sun.

  • The 3rd, 4th and 5th floors are where the 2+2+2 program exists for Valencia, UCF and UF.

    • These spaces include lecture halls, seminar rooms, studios, equipment rooms and offices for faculty and staff.

    • All studios are stacked facing Lake Eola and open to each other vertically for the promotion of interaction between the student echelons and the engagement of light from the atrium side as shown here in the longitudinal section.

  • The parking facility provides 50 spaces and is located at the rear of the building with access from E. Washington Street. All effort was made to obscure this program with the strategic location of ramps away from the main façade.

  • 66,000 sq ft heated space

  • 53,000 sq ft parking


  • Our building design paradigm seeks to align itself with the tenets and charter mandates of the OFA and AIA as OCAD connects the Park, the City and the Center through education, promotion and engagement.

  • …a call to action…       OCAD Connects

Student Information

Jon Clark

University of Florida Graduate School of Architecture at CityLab-Orlando

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