The Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design "Design Loft," which was selected as the winner of an international competition, is a site for new connections. A continuous gallery anchors the building's main public level and opens up to a new esplanade. The ascending sequence of ground floor spaces support a broad range of activities including a cafe, gallery, 200-seat multi-purpose lecture room, library, classrooms, and reading areas.
The 117,000-square-foot building, which is on track for LEED Platinum certification, unites for the first time all of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design's programs inside an expansive 650-seat design studio. A series of critique rooms ascends at the south side of the studios, encouraging dialogue between beginning and advanced students and across design disciplines. Continuous sightlines throughout unite spaces of creation and critique, encourage interdisciplinary discourse, and enhance the sense of peripheral vision for students and faculty.
Large glazed areas of curtain wall on north facade bring northern light into the studio spaces and provide panoramic views toward the campus and city. The iron-spot brick facade and custom brick fins, fired locally in a bee-hive kiln, relate to the materials of the surrounding campus and town. Sited strategically at a hinge between campus and city, the building establishes an innovative center for the design disciplines and forges new connections between the university and the recently revitalized downtown Kent.