Laredo Community College

Cigarroa Science Complex



The Laredo College Science Complex, located at Laredo College’s Downtown Campus which inhabits the grounds of the historic Fort McIntosh, relies on buildings that cross a wide range of architectural epochs. The vision of the college board, to create a consolidated science center, posed an interesting architectural challenge: how to expand on and unify a brutalist building from the 1960’s and a traditional building from the 1990’s while respecting the 1930’s buildings across the quad? Through our design charrettes for the Laredo College Science Complex, we concluded that the design aesthetic should represent the science curriculum.

Part of the program for the Laredo College Science Complex fit within the existing buildings, while new construction was split into 2 wings: an academic wing and a faculty wing built as “bridge” buildings that connected the 2 existing buildings. The resulting plan formed a square layout surrounding a central courtyard.

During the charette for the Laredo College Science Complex, faculty expressed a desire to preserve the 100 year-old live oak between the 2 buildings. Designing the courtyard around the tree gave us a distinct shared outdoor space the faculty and students could call their own.

The center courtyard design of the Laredo College Science Complex also provided a means to organize building “wings” according to use. Each side houses a program function: offices, labs, and classroom. The continuous center corridor and covered breezeways provide a unifying spine for all 4 wings and provide ample natural light and views to the historic campus or the oak tree courtyard.

Aesthetically, we matched the brown brick used in the 1960’s to tie our design to the campus and we introduced white concrete block, copper metal panels, and expansive glass to blend in the contemporary design the faculty desired. The result is the Laredo College Science Complex, a building that leverages the assets of previous generations to continue in the mission to advance society through science and technology.


Client: Laredo Community College
Location: Laredo, TX
Role: Architects
Date of Completion: 2021

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