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Palmetto Center for the Arts, Redbud Learning Center, and Juniper Hall at Northwest Vista College

Northwest Vista College comes into its own: our addition of three significant buildings crystallizes the guiding principles of our campus master plan

This group of buildings, and the landscape between them, completes our Northwest Vista Campus Master Plan. Together, they create a natural connection between building and landscape, and suggest the aspirational feel of a university campus within the neighborly convenience of a community college.

Northwest Vista College
San Antonio, Texas
Palmetto: 65,000 SF / Completed 2009
Redbud: 41,000 SF / Completed 2007

Redbud Learning Center includes a library, computer classrooms, and a Cyber Café.

The College Library is the anchor building for the west end of the campus master plan. The library contains large expanses of glass on three sides, providing three different experiences for library users. The Cyber Café end fronts “Lago Vista,” the new lake that is at the center of campus. The quietest area overlooks a treed and landscaped area that gently slopes into the waterfront. Reference area seating is adjacent to a new courtyard leading to a footbridge across the lake.

The main reading room / stack area is about 12,000 SF, and includes seventy-five computer stations, five group study rooms, twenty quiet study carrels, a variety of casual seating, and 3,000 linear feet of shelving. Overlooking the double-height space is a mezzanine that includes a 2,000 square foot computer lab and additional study areas. The administration offices include seven offices, a large conference room, a break room, a work room, and a technical services room. The top floor of this building is given over to classrooms.

Palmetto Center for the Arts includes a 400 seat Proscenium and a 100 seat Black Box Theater, Music Suite, Visual Arts Classroom Wing, and Fine Arts Faculty offices.

This building was conceived as a building for the local community, as well as a learning facility for the students with a public entry for performances. Dance, Music, Drama and the Performing Arts all have spaces that open to the common foyer which, in turn, opens onto the new campus green, looking down the hill to the Lake. 

Palmetto Center for the Arts completes our master plan for the campus (2004). For the master plan, Alamo Architects evolved a cohesive architectural vocabulary from existing context, strongly exemplified in this fine arts facility.

The strengths of the Juniper and Redbud academic complex are in their relationship with the surrounding lake via outdoor terraces, spatial transparency between interior and exterior spaces, and the space formed between the complex's two structures.

Dror Baldinger

Project Team


Theater | WJHW
Structural Engineer | Jaster Quintanilla
MEP | Goetting & Associates
Civil | CDS/Muery
Landscape | Bender Wells Clark Design
Cost | Project Cost Resources
Code/Life Safety | PDI, Inc.

Structural Engineer | IES
MEP | Goetting & Associates
Civil | Pape-Dawson
Landscape | SWA/Bender Wells Clark Design
Code/Life Safety | PDI, Inc.

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