The groundbreaking for Kent State University’s new Center for Architecture and Environmental Design occurred Oct. 3. The building will serve as the new home of Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, bringing all of the programs of the college under one roof. It will be located between South Lincoln and South Willow streets, just south of the Lefton Esplanade and across the street from Franklin Hall.
Construction on the $47.8 million building, including $3.8 million from donors and Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, has an estimated completion date in 2016.
This new, approximately 107,000-square-foot structure will present Kent State as an economic and design force in Northeast Ohio and will consolidate the center’s students, including those in the construction management program, in one location, enhancing peer-to-peer learning that is vital in the design fields. It also will maximize the interaction of faculty, students and administration and aid in efforts to continue to integrate the campus and community. The building is designed to be a physical statement of what it means to be a designer in the 21st century, and will be at a minimum LEED Silver certified but is being designed to a LEED Platinum target.
“This building embodies scholarly thought with practical use, and, because of its strategic location between the campus and downtown Kent, it provides an actual as well as a symbolic connection between these design requirements,” said Douglas Steidl, Dean of Kent State’s College of Architecture & Environmental Design.
The idea of a link between the university and the city of Kent is reminiscent of the Centennial Master Plan for the city of Kent, which was developed by the college’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. That plan envisioned the university/city connection currently coming to fruition.
“We would hope that [a student] would arrive at this building fascinated, terrified, excited and hungry, and by the time they leave know that it has been their building,” said Marion Weiss, a member of the lead design team from WEISS/MANFREDI.
Speakers at the event included Kent State President Beverly Warren, Steidl, as well as Weiss and Michael Manfredi, co-founders of WEISS/MANFREDI.
The new building is part of the “Foundations of Excellence: Building the Future” initiative, 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.