Plans reworked for new Kent State architecture college (gallery)

By Jeremy Nobile | Staff Writer Published:

Changes to plans for Kent State University's new College of Architecture and Environmental Design will have no impact to the students and faculty who will work and study inside it.

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Architects, developers, consultants and university officials shared updates on the building's design at a public presentation Thursday at Cartwright Hall where planners announced the building will now comprise four step-like floors instead of five.

The reduction has trimmed the building from about 124,000 square feet to roughly 107,000 square feet, said Douglas Steidl, dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design.

The changes have been made in the name of efficiency and cost-effectiveness, said Michael Manfredi of the WEISS/MANFREDI firm that won a competitive search to be the $40 million college's lead designer.

The bulk of area cut from prior designs came from the elimination of non-essential corridors.

Utilizing a "Design Loft" style, the college features various levels of open, wall-less studios for students so a person on one floor can look right down to another and vice versa. Features including a first-floor library, lecture hall and cafe were all retained in the most recent schematics.

One change since the initial design process includes the incorporation of construction management classes on the bottom, basement-level floor.

Some features designed to enhance sustainability and energy efficiency -- including a "green" roof covered with vegetation intended to help insulate and absorb rain water -- are contingent on funding, noted Marion Weiss of WEISS/MANFREDI.

Steidl said he's pleased with the changes so far, noting the college is a "better, more efficient building today" than it was when the winning design was chosen.

The new building will be along the recently extended Lester A. Lefton Esplanade.

Construction is expected to begin around late summer to early fall of this year.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126 or jnobile@recordpub.com

Facebook: Jeremy Nobile, Record-Courier

Twitter: @jnobile_RPC

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