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Kent State Announces Winning Architecture Team for University’s New, $40 Million Architecture Building

Posted Apr. 2, 2013

After holding a competition that drew the interest of internationally recognized architects, the architecture team that will design the new $40 million building for Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design has been determined.

Rendering of Design Loft concept - Northwest Corner“I have the great pleasure to announce the winning team is WEISS/MANFREDI, lead designer, and Richard L. Bowen & Associates, architect of record, with ‘The Design Loft’ submission,” said Kent State President Lester A. Lefton. “Given the distinguished reputation of our architecture programs, the college’s building deserves a world-class design. The building will serve as a new icon as visitors approach the campus. In our selection of this team, we not only get professionals who will create a spectacular new home for our College of Architecture and Environmental Design but also partners who made us feel confident about a collaborative process that will consider the needs of this project’s many stakeholders.”

Douglas Steidl, dean of Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, said that faculty, students, administration and staff of the college are so excited to see this project move forward.

“This selection provides the College of Architecture and Environmental Design with a striking idea about both the visual and functional aspects of our programs,” Steidl said. “We are excited to move on to the next level of design with a concept that will attract the best faculty and outstanding students to all of our programs. This scheme will enhance the learning experience, facilitate collaboration and inspire those of us who are users as well as those who observe it from the community.”

Rendering of Design Loft concept - LibraryThe new architecture building is part of the university’s campus transformation, called “Foundations of Excellence: Building the Future,” which involves the construction of new buildings, facility upgrades and establishment of dynamic, new spaces. The goal of this initiative is to create the most outstanding academic experience for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the greater community enriched by the university.

Currently, this signature program is housed in three separate structures. The new, 120,000-square-foot building will unite the college under one roof. 

“This is a building that speaks to the commitment Kent State University is making to the future of the region,” Steidl said.

The university launched the design competition in the summer of 2012 for the new architecture building that will be constructed along the south side of the Kent State University Esplanade extension near downtown Kent. Thirty-seven architecture firms applied for the design competition, the first the university has done. The field of candidates was narrowed down to eight firms in October 2012 and then to the four finalists in November. The four finalists presented their design concepts on Jan. 17, 2013. Following the presentations, the sustainability data provided by the finalists was analyzed, their cost estimates were reviewed by independent sources and the presentation materials were further evaluated by the selection committee.

“As an institution, we have been so pleased with the efforts of all of the finalists,” said Michael Bruder, director of design and construction at Kent State’s Office of the University Architect. “In addition to the WEISS/MANFREDI and Richard L. Bowen & Associates team, we would like to recognize the excellent work of the other three design teams: Bialosky & Partners with Architecture Research Office; The Collaborative Inc. with the Miller Hull Partnership, and Westlake Reed Leskosky. Each firm took a unique approach to the building and presented very dynamic designs.”

Steidl shared his appreciation to those involved in the design competition and those who supported the process.

“At the conclusion of the selection process, we can only be grateful to the firms that prepared the other three designs,” Steidl said. “Their dedication to the projects has been significant, actually more that we could ever have expected, and we are grateful for their efforts. All four firms prepared outstanding solutions, each with a significant emphasis on some aspect of our goals for the project.

“The college wishes to thank President Lefton and the Board of Trustees for their leadership and commitment to a design concept that will serve exceptionally well for the long term,” Steidl continued. “Their steadfastness through this process and their foresight in knowing what this facility means to the future of our programs is most commendable.”

Bruder also thanked members of the university community for sharing their thoughts and feedback on the proposed designs, which following the Jan. 17 presentation have been on display in the University Library.

“We would also like to thank the campus, alumni and community for all of their participation and input on the process,” Bruder said. “We know this type of feedback will only improve the process and ultimately provide more information for a functional and beautiful facility. We are truly excited to commence the detailed work of refining the design and constructing the building.”

Now that the architecture team has been selected, Bruder said that the next steps are refining the design idea and developing detailed drawings to ensure that the constructed building serves both the college and the university in the best possible way.

Construction of the new building is anticipated to begin in spring 2014 with the goal of occupancy in December 2015.

For more information about “The Design Loft” submission by WEISS/MANFREDI and Richard L. Bowen & Associates, visit www.weissmanfredi.com/project/kent-state-design-loft.

For more information about WEISS/MANFREDI of New York, visit www.weissmanfredi.com.

For more information about Richard L. Bowen & Associates of Cleveland, visit www.rlba.com.

For more information about Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, visit www.kent.edu/caed.

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Photo Captions:
Rendering of Design Loft concept – NORTHWEST CORNER:
The architecture team of WEISS/MANFREDI, lead designer, and Richard L. Bowen & Associates, architect of record, has been selected to design Kent State University’s new building for the College of Architecture and Environment Design. The team presented its “Design Loft” submission to the university community on Jan. 17. (Provided by WEISS/MANFREDI, lead designer, and Richard L. Bowen & Associates, architect of record)

Rendering of Design Loft concept – LIBRARY:
The architecture team of WEISS/MANFREDI, lead designer, and Richard L. Bowen & Associates, architect of record, has been selected to design Kent State University’s new building for the College of Architecture and Environment Design. Shown here is an interior look at the building’s library that the team presented as part of its “Design Loft” submission. (Provided by WEISS/MANFREDI, lead designer, and Richard L. Bowen & Associates, architect of record)

Media Contacts:
Douglas Steidl, dsteidl@kent.edu, 330-672-2917
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595