2017 Best of Design Awards for Building of the Year – Midwest: Kent State Center For Architecture and Environmental Design
Architect: WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism
Location: Kent, Ohio
The Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design is a beacon for the university’s creative research-based programs. A continuous gallery anchors the building’s main public level and opens to a new pathway between the university and recently revitalized downtown Kent. The ascending sequence of ground-floor spaces includes a cafe, a gallery, a 200-seat multipurpose lecture room, a library, classrooms, and reading areas. An expansive 650-seat design studio forms the heart of the program. The tiered arrangement of studios informs the massing of the building, which bridges the institutional and residential scales of its neighbors.
Stairways activate the north and south facades, and glazing along the north facade brings light into the studios and provides panoramic views. The color and texture of the iron-spot brick facade and custom brick fins, fired locally in a beehive kiln, adopt the vernacular of the surrounding campus and city.
“It is impressive that the Midwest continues to be at the front of the pack when it comes to high-quality educational buildings, and these two—and architecture school and a dorm—are indicative of this phenomenon. The dorms have a subtle yet articulated facade that expresses the care that went into an otherwise quotidian structure. The architecture school is a beautiful place to work I am sure for students, and it blends into the landscape in an interesting way.” —Matt Shaw, senior editor, The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)
Architect, MEP/FP of Record:
Richard L. Bowen + Associates
MEP/FP Design Engineer:
Jaros, Baum & Bolles
Landscape Architect of Record:
Knight & Stolar
2017 Best of Design Awards for Building of the Year – Midwest: University of Chicago, Campus North Residential Commons
Architect: Studio Gang
Featuring a mix of student residences, dining amenities, classrooms, retail, and green spaces, the Campus North Residential Commons is designed as a welcoming new portal to the University of Chicago. The design situates three bar buildings in an urban fabric of inviting outdoor spaces, defining a new quadrangle in a previously ill-defined area of campus. The buildings are scaled to their context: The tallest structure fronts a busy thoroughfare; the shortest structure is attuned to the neighborhood. The precast concrete facades reinterpret the campus’s traditional neo-Gothic limestone buildings.
Supporting the University’s House system, which forms communities of students from different years to bolster social and academic success, the buildings are organized around three-story “House hubs,” cozy, home-like spaces where undergraduates can gather. Altogether, the project enriches the academic experience by encouraging exchange among students and strengthening their ties to the surrounding community.
Structural engineering dbHMS, MEP/FP:
Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Terry Guen Design Associates