The university released the names of four architecture firms who will be paid a stipend to design models of the new building, which will be built along Kent State's Esplanade extension to downtown.
The four finalists selected for the last phase of the competition are:
- Bialosky + Partners Architects, with offices in New York and Cleveland, in association with Architecture Research Office of New York
- Richard L. Bowen + Associates Inc. of Cleveland in association with Weiss/Manfredi of New York
- The Collaborative Inc. of Toledo, Ohio, in association with the Miller Hull Partnership of Seattle
- Westlake Reed Leskosky with offices in Cleveland and four other cities
Kent residents may only recognize the name Richard Bowen and Associates, which is the firm designing the new Kent courthouse for Portage County.
Though Westlake, Reed and Leskosky have designed several new buildings and renovations for Kent State, including the Math and Computer Science Building, the renovation of Franklin Hall for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative offices on Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland.
The Collaborative Inc. also has designed projects for Kent State, according to the firm's client list.
The winning firm will be announced in February 2013.
Douglas Steidl, dean of the university's architecture college, said the building will serve as a physical and metaphorical link between the university and city.
"This design competition has been an exciting process, and the anticipation only grows as we prepare for the final steps," he said. “We perceive this as a building that will focus on the future, be a building that sets a new standard for collaboration between constituencies and reflects a high level of respect for the built environment while respecting the natural systems of our planet."
The $40 million architecture building is part of $170 million in renovations planned for the Kent campus.
The four finalists were narrowed from eight semi-finalists, who were identified in October.
In total, 37 architecture firms with offices from around the world applied to design the new building.
According to the university, the design goals established for the project include:
- Facilitating peer-to-peer learning by consolidating the College of Architecture and Environmental Design in one location.
- Recognizing through architecture that Kent State is an economic and design force in Northeast Ohio.
- Facilitating collaboration between all constituencies within the college and within the larger community.
- Providing a structure that demonstrates a commitment to sustainable practices, approaches zero energy/zero carbon dioxide emissions and demonstrates that commitment to the users, the university community and the public.
- Offers spaces for design and construction research.
- Provides future flexibility of use.
In January, the four finalists will present their design concepts, sustainability data and a cost estimate to the selection committee, followed by an abbreviated presentation that will be open to the public.
“This project, in conjunction with the recently completed improvements to campus and the planned renovations and additions to many other academic facilities, will continue the remarkable transformation of the campus reflecting the caliber of our institution and the commitment of our president, administration and Board of Trustees to excellence for our students and faculty,” said Michael Bruder, director of design and construction at Kent State’s Office of the University Architect.