For more than a decade, the Black Cultural Center's building has captured the vigor of African-American culture and the spirit of traditional African architecture. The building's organization, which opened in June 1999, can be compared to a traditional African extended family village. There is a powerful mix of round and rectangular houses throughout Africa and one can find similar round and rectangular shapes in the BCC. Decorations, patterns and the use of color, an inherent part of African expression, are found on and in the building.
Many of the building's designs 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 include:
- A geometric brick pattern based on a design used in wall mats found in Zaire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- Window openings that work within the overall pattern of the walls in keeping with the traditional African architecture.
- An entrance that resembles a portal, often used as the path into a traditional village. The keyhole shaped portal enhances the identity of the building. The lattice design of the cast stone medallions embedded in the portal represents a typical African ornamental motif.
- An octagonal lobby that acts as the village courtyard, while the surrounding "cells" or rooms create a true ordering system. The lobby encourages community living rather than seeking exclusion within an isolated room.
- A wrought iron balcony on the second floor that represents the early 1700s enslaved Africans who were commonly employed in the metal trades and blacksmithing.
- The center of the entrance that 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."
The 18,500-squre foot building features:
- A multipurpose room that is equipped with a wood sprung floor for dance rehearsals and performances.
- A formal lounge and art exhibition features African artifacts and the BCC permanent art collection.
- A 20-station computer lab that is tied to the Purdue's fiber optic backbone.
- The BCC Library, which houses four study rooms, more than 6,000 books, two computers and approximately 40 scholarly and popular periodicals.
BCC Computer Lab
The BCC's computer lab is located in Room 204, on the second floor. It houses 20 computers (Optiplex GX240 1.6GHz), one laser printer, and one scanner. The equipment is available to all Purdue students, faculty and staff.
The computer lab is open during BCC business hours. To find out computer availability, click here.