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The BCC Building

The design of the BCC is intended to capture the vigor of African American culture and the spirit of the traditional African architecture. The spatial organization of the BCC can be compared to a traditional African extended family village. There is a powerful mix of round and rectangular houses through out the African continent and similar round and rectangular shapes comprise the BCC building. Decorations, patterns and the use of color are an inherent part of African expression and are expressed on and in the building. Afrocentric features are represented through out the interior of the facility. Many of these designs outside and inside of the building can be found in wood, basketry, textiles, wall mats and even tattoos in Africa. The BCC relates to other buildings on the Purdue campus through the scale of its various elements and the use of material on the building.

Architectural Elements:

  • The geometric brick pattern of the building is based on a design used in wall mats found in Zaire, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Window openings are few, simple and work within the overall pattern of the walls in keeping with the traditional African architecture.
  • The entrance is similar to that of a portal, which was often used as the entrance to a traditional village. The keyhole shaped portal in the BCC creates a focal point for the entrance to the center and enhances the identity of the building. The lattice design of the cast stone medallions embedded in the portal represents a typical African ornamental motif.
  • The octagonal lobby acts as the village courtyard, while the surrounding "cells", or rooms create a true ordering system. The "courtyard" lobby encourages the building inhabitants to strive for the development of community living rather than to seek exclusion within isolated room.
  • The wrought iron balcony on the second level represents the early 1700's enslaved Africans who were commonly employed in the metal trades and the skilled occupation of blacksmithing.
  • The carpeting, furniture and wall coverings are in earth tones. The center of the carpeted entrance reflects the geometrical and symbolic patterns in African design. The "windmill" pattern is reminiscent of an Andikra motif, which means "ability to face difficulty in life."

Physical Features:

  • The Multipurpose room is equipped with a wood sprung floor for dance rehearsals and performances by BCC ensembles.
  • The Formal lounge and art exhibition features African artifacts and the BCC permanent art collection.
  • The 20-Station Dell Computer Lab is tied to the Purdue University fiber optic backbone.
  • The Student organization office has space for 12 student groups.
  • The Library houses 4 private study rooms, 6,000+ books, 2-computers for students, and approximately 40 scholarly and popular periodicals relating to the African American experience.

Construction Information:

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