TCC — Visual Arts and Design Center


Tidewater Community College


Norfolk, Virginia


38,180 square feet

Completion Date

Fall 2023


Rising student demand for programs in graphic arts, videography, photography and graphic design drove a decision by Tidewater Community College to take over space once occupied by a large grocery store as the new home of its Visual Arts and Design Center. The space is at street level, under a high-rise condominium community known as Harbor Heights. With large windows fronting Norfolk’s busy Boush Street, the new Center announces TCC’s art presence and course variety to passersby and makes a significant connection to the Chrysler Museum of Art, particularly the anticipated Perry Glass Studio Expansion, and the NEON District. TCC’s presence on the first floor Harbor Heights building also ties to the rest of the downtown TCC campus, providing connectivity for students and activating the streetscape.

Students and visitors are greeted by a reception area in a double-height lobby, which also features an exhibition gallery space for the school’s permanent collection and visiting artists, a student gallery, as well as a multi-purpose space that serves as an extra gallery and event space. The 38,180-square-foot Center also has 14 classrooms to accommodate drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, and printmaking, among other offerings. A shared computer lab is available to any TCC student, no matter their major. Designers embraced the exposed concrete columns softened by light wood accents for warmth and large expanses of glass separating public spaces. Walls are primarily neutral as a blank canvas for art work, with exposed ceilings painted with a dark blue-grey inspired by the school’s official colors. Several classrooms feature tunable white lights, which can be used as a teaching tool to show effects of lighting temperature on color.