Texas Christian University’s Intercultural Center (ICC) is a dynamic space designed to be welcoming and comfortable for underrepresented communities, establishing a home where they feel seen, heard and celebrated. Outfitted with vibrant colors, unapologetic representation and mixed-use areas, the Intercultural Center is a multi-cultural hub of student-led activities that recognize and appreciate underrepresented identities.
The ICC was designed to serve minority students by honoring the beauty in their differences, championing inclusivity, social justice, advocacy and diversity. It’s an energetic space where minority students feel a special sense of pride and ownership.
The ICC is a respite and gathering place that amplifies the stories and voices of underrepresented students. Its authentic design elements blossomed from numerous design charrettes with students of color who offered insight into features that would help deliver a sense of belonging. From the color palette and furniture to décor and layout, the ICC was designed to reflect the students' personal and cultural characteristics.
"There are so many places on campus we can hang out and study, but this place feels special because it is [for] international students. It has helped me develop more meaningful relationships on campus.”Helen To Freshman at Texas Christian University
As part of TCU's Race and Reconciliation Initiative, our team collaborated with campus leaders to identify spatial solutions that aligned with the university's desired trajectory. Recognizing an opportunity to reimagine spaces that represented its past more than its present or future, TCU chose to recast an underutilized section of the school’s Brown-Lupton University Union.
Through a highly collaborative design process, the space in the student union designated for student organizations was transformed into the “front porch” of the university, as the students have affectionally coined the ICC. Once dark, cluttered and compartmentalized, the existing space was reprogrammed to offer easy access and smooth transitions throughout the center. Open common areas and transparent walls help foster a sense of community while also maximizing flexibility and functionality.
The ICC is proof of what’s possible by recasting an existing building to acknowledge TCU’s multicultural history, represent its present and support its future.