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'Design Loft' Concept Chosen for new Kent State Architecture Building

University picks Weiss/Manfredi, Richard L. Bowen & Associates to design new $40 million college

A green roof, continuous studio loft and large glass and large glass walls will be among the features incorporated into the new Kent State University College of Architecture and Design.

The university confirmed Tuesday that the partnership of Cleveland-based Richard L. Bowen & Associates with New York firm WEISS/MANFREDI was chosen from the four finalists in the design competition to build the 120,000-square-foot building.

WEISS/MANFREDI will serve as lead designer with Richard L. Bowen & Associates as architect of record.

Kent State President Lester Lefton made the official announcement Tuesday.

"In our selection of this team, we not only get professionals who will create a spectacular new home for our College of Architecture and Environmental Design but also partners who made us feel confident about a collaborative process that will consider the needs of this project’s many stakeholders," Lefton said.

The WEISS/MANFREDI, Richard L. Bowen partnership was among four finalists who unveiled their proposed designs to the Kent community in January.

Richard L. Bowen & Associates have done several projects in the Portage County area and are designing the new Kent courthouse under construction on East Main Street.

The new architecture building will unite the architecture school, now spread out in three buildings across campus, under one roof on the university's Esplanade extension between campus and downtown Kent.

The $40 million architecture college is part of $170 million in renovations planned for the Kent campus.

Douglas Steidl, dean of Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, said the Design Loft concept creates a striking idea for the visual and functional aspects of the architecture program.

"We are excited to move on to the next level of design with a concept that will attract the best faculty and outstanding students to all of our programs," Steidl said. "This scheme will enhance the learning experience, facilitate collaboration and inspire those of us who are users as well as those who observe it from the community."

Construction on the building is expected to start in 2014 with the college fully occupied by December 2015.

“As an institution, we have been so pleased with the efforts of all of the finalists,” said Michael Bruder, director of design and construction at Kent State’s Office of the University Architect. “In addition to the WEISS/MANFREDI and Richard L. Bowen & Associates team, we would like to recognize the excellent work of the other three design teams: Bialosky & Partners with Architecture Research Office; The Collaborative Inc. with the Miller Hull Partnership, and Westlake Reed Leskosky. Each firm took a unique approach to the building and presented very dynamic designs.”

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