Toledo firm one of four national finalists at Kent State

Posted Jan 25th, 2013 by Becky Breitner  Category: Education


The Collaborative Inc and The Miller Hull Partnership, of Seattle, Washington, were invited to develop a solution for Kent State University’s new College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Kent State selected the team as one of four finalists from amongst 37 teams from around the country. The Collaborative Inc, of Toledo, has a long track record of work with Kent State, and teamed with Miller/Hull based on their design sensitivity and commitment to sustainability.

Located along the Esplanade, Kent State’s main pedestrianway, the academic and studio building will be a key gateway between campus and the City of Kent. The design, led by Miller Hull, develops an open atmosphere of creative problem solving and unconventional cross-disciplinary collaborations.

At the root of The Collaborative and Miller Hull’s design proposal are the studios. In lieu of a large solid bar, the studios are separated and rotated perpendicular to the Esplanade. This rotation allows sunlight to penetrate these public spaces. The studio floor plates evoke the size and orientation of the residential lots that surround much of the site. The studios are clear spanning, structurally exposed, deliberately raw space with great natural light. They include a distributed HVAC system for micro-zoned climate control and optimized energy performance. They are intentionally connected visually and acoustically through open internal stairs, paths, and lightwells. They are non-hierarchical and can change through time as needed.
Between the studios are the “crystals”. These are group-work spaces for pin ups, reviews, seminars and group projects. These spaces are only as big as required. The geometry deflects to enclose the space, sometimes irregularly. They are acoustically isolated, yet visually connected.

The “connective tissue” links all elements: the crystals, studios, ground floor, esplanade, campus and downtown. The tissue is the open path through the building that allows students, faculty, staff, visitors and potential students to experience the entire program. It is intended to encourage awareness and engagement throughout the building. This will spark new ideas as students move from space to space. Informal “eddies” are located along the path and are used as lounges, technology charging stations, and mock-up installations for studio projects.

The ground floor contains spaces that will be used University-wide, as well as by the public. Arranged parallel to the Esplanade, it creates an urban edge and extends the city grid that connects to downtown, thus creating a bridge to link campus with the town.

The Collaborative and Miller Hull team, as well as the other finalists, is currently under review by Kent State University. The teams presented to both a private jury and a public forum on January 17. Over the next month, the four concepts’ sustainability data and cost estimates will be reviewed by independent sources while the presentation materials are further evaluated by the selection committee to determine the winning design scheme. The winner of the competition is expected to be announced in February 2013.

An explanation of the design concept, provided by Robert Hull, AIA, of Miller Hull, is available at Kent’s website http://ksutube.kent.edu/playback.php?playthis=946f2h22w.

Miller Hull is proud that its projects are not based on a recognizable style, but rather on the ability to design and transform a program creatively and uniquely to fit a specific need. Miller Hull’s architecture evokes spirit, not style. Current notable projects underway include the Bullitt Center in Seattle, designed to Living Building standards and regarded as ‘the greenest commercial office building in the world,’ and the multi-phase redesign of the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry targeting net zero status between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico–the busiest border crossing in the world. Find more info at www.millerhull.com.

The Collaborative Inc brings the best of design excellence and accessible sustainability to clients, with the highest level of hands-on service. The firm embraces the concept of teaming, with some of its best projects resulting from design collaborations. Recent exercises include the Bowling Green State University Wolfe Center for the Arts, with Snøhetta of Oslo, Norway. With an expanding regional and national client-base, from New York to Texas and Toronto, The Collaborative Inc is committed to Downtown Toledo. Find more info at www.thecollaborativeinc.com.

For more information about Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, visit www.kent.edu/caed.

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Becky Breitner - The Collaborative Inc | 500 Madison Avenue | Toledo, OH 43604

bbreitner@thecollaboratievinc.com | www.thecollaborativeinc.com | 419.242.7405 No Comments »

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