Kent State Celebrates Grand Opening of the New Center for Architecture and Environmental Design
Kent State University celebrated the grand opening of its newest and much-anticipated building, the Center for Architecture and Environmental Design, on Oct. 7.
Visitors, alumni and friends from around the world toured the 110,191-square-foot contemporary glass-and-brick building, stretching along the Lefton Esplanade from Lincoln Street toward downtown Kent.
The center brings exceptional design to Kent State’s architecture, architectural studies and interior design programs, and it unites students and faculty from the College of Architecture and Environmental Design under one roof to serve as an educational model for design excellence.
The distinctive building was conceived in 2012, when the university initiated an international competition. Thirty-seven highly accomplished design teams submitted their qualifications and proposals. After more than a yearlong process, internationally renowned New York-based firm WEISS/MANFREDI was named as the lead designer, Richard L. Bowen & Associates as the architect of record and Gilbane Building Company as the construction manager.
The center is anticipating a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum rating by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which will make it one of the largest buildings in Ohio to reach this high standard. Some of the features include a partial green roof to capture and recycle rain water, 131 geothermal wells (each 405-feet deep) to provide an efficient heating and cooling source for the building and glass curtain walls designed to optimize daylight while reducing the need for artificial light.
The exterior contains 91,000 custom bricks produced by Ohio’s Belden Brick Company that brings together colors exemplifying the strong and continuously growing relationship between the university and downtown Kent.
Inside, the new center contains a cascading studio loft that promotes interdisciplinary engagement and peer-to-peer learning. A digital fabrication laboratory, lighting lab, specialized research labs, maker spaces and a material’s library provide the infrastructure needed for tomorrow’s designers. The linear, transparent, ground-floor lobby features a café, gallery, lecture hall and library reading room.
Construction crews broke ground in November 2014 and since then, the community has been watching this exceptional building design come to life.
The grand opening was open to the public. Audience members heard from Kent State President Beverly Warren and Mark Mistur, AIA, dean of Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Lectures also were presented by WEISS/MANFREDI co-founders Marion Weiss and Michael A. Manfredi; Jay Graham, associate director in Kent State’s Office of the University Architect; and Gilbane Building Company’s Joe Schlagel; and others scheduled to speak about the building’s innovative features. AIA Ohio conference attendees and other professionals for continuing education credits also attended.