The brilliant new Center for Architecture and Environmental Design acts as a beacon, beckoning all as it bridges campus and community
Pass by the Kent Campus, especially at night, and you can’t help but be drawn to its newest addition, the Center for Architecture and Environmental Design. Seen as a gateway to campus, its glass walls glow from within, inviting viewers to glimpse the activity going on inside.
The building, part of the Foundations of Excellence initiative, opened this fall with a celebration that culminated years of planning under the leadership of Douglas Steidl, who recently retired as dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design.
Thirty-seven teams submitted proposals for the building’s design and construction in a 2012 international competition, and the university selected New York–based firm Weiss/Manfredi as design architect, Richard L. Bowen and Associates as architect of record and Gilbane Building Company as construction manager.
The four-story, 110,191 square-foot building brings together programs that were once scattered across campus, including architecture, urban design, architecture and environmental design, interior design, architectural studies, landscape architecture and health care facilities design. An expansive, three-level studio loft encourages collaboration across disciplines.
The $47.8 million building also includes a multipurpose lecture hall, materials library, café, gallery, studio critique spaces, classrooms, offices, maker spaces and labs for digital fabrication, lighting and specialized research.
“We designed this building to be a place of continuous connection between design, research and invention,” says architect Marion Weiss, who attended the opening with Michael Manfredi, cofounder of Weiss/Manfredi. In addition to their practice, both teach architecture. “We have observed that students learn better in collaborative environments,” Weiss says.
“Studying in this building for four years will provide students with a slow infusion, a saturation of senses that will become a part of each student’s design sensibility and standard of reference,” says new dean Mark Mistur, who notes the building is being acknowledged for design excellence internationally. It recently was featured with other noteworthy arts-related projects in an article in the Art & Design section of The New York Times on Sunday, September 18th.
“Our Board of Trustees saw the vision for 21st century learning facilities and the fact that our students deserve to have a learning environment equal to the talent they bring to our campus,” says President Beverly Warren. “We have students studying in this building who will be the iconic leaders of tomorrow.”
On track to be a USGBC LEED Platinum Building, the new Center for Architecture and Environmental Design will be one of the largest buildings in the state of Ohio with the highest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating.
The facility’s energy-saving elements include:
- Low-E coatings (three types of glazing) applied to the 26,000 square feet of exterior glass to improve solar and thermal performance
- Glass curtain walls to optimize daylight and reduce the need for interior artificial light sources
- Low-VOC paints and minimal off-gassing interior materials to keep indoor air clean
- High energy-efficient LED lighting with energy saving controls
- 25,000 square feet of radiant flooring
- Partial green roof (18,000 sq. ft. planted with sedum) to capture rainwater
- 15,000-gallon gray tank that recycles rainwater for irrigation and flushing bathroom fixtures
- Geothermal heating and cooling that is 300 percent more efficient than standard systems