JEMA Reimagines the “Corner”
Ranken Technical College’s Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center is the first building outside of Ranken’s traditional boundaries in the north St. Louis. The 29,000 sq. ft. Incubator houses Ranken’s MicroEnterprise program, where students “learn and earn” with multiple St. Louis companies. The program is a partnership that benefits the students and also the companies. More than 760 students have taken advantage of this paid work-based training since 2012.
Being the first building outside of Ranken’s original campus, the building’s design is a response to its program and site. On the west end, a new main entry is created by carving away the corner. A diagonal slice through the corner opens the building up to a partially covered entry plaza. While on the east end, the building’s metal panel cladding lifts up to create an all glass corner creating a warm gesture of openness during the day and a lantern-effect at night. The diagonal gestures at both the west and east corners create an invitation to the student body and to the broader north St. Louis community.