The new building hous-
ing Kent State University's College of Architecture and Environmental Design will be an important addition to the campus and, given its proximity to downtown Kent, a community landmark as well.
The $40 million facility will be an important symbol of Kent State as it enters its second century, and as such, its design takes on added interest to the campus community. Because of this, the four finalists in the competition to design the architecture building presented their proposals during a public gathering Thursday at the University Auditorium in Cartwright Hall.
The designs that were unveiled all are distinctive, with a 21st Century look that will set them apart from any other structure on the Kent State campus, or in the city of Kent for that matter. That's as it should be; the Kent campus reflects a variety of architectural styles from every decade of its existence -- some more successful than others -- and this latest addition to the campus will be no exception. A structure housing the College of Archicteture should be a showcase for cutting-edge design.
The new facility will be located between South Willow and South Lincoln streets on the Esplanade, the walkway being constructed by KSU that will link the campus and downtown Kent. That will put it closer to the central city than any campus building. As President Lester Lefton noted, the location "makes a strong statement about the inextricable link between our campus and the city we've called home for more than a century."
The four proposals, while differing in appearance, adhere to guidelines of the design competition that stressed the landmark aspect of the site and the need for energy efficiency. Two have a "green roof" element, utilizing living vegetation as an energy conservation element. All are multi-story, which will make the facility an imposing addition to the campus and downtown area.
A crowd of about 800 turned out for the "unveiling" at Cartwright Hall, which is an indication of interest in the new facility and welcome sign of engagement. University officials are to be commended for drawing the community into the selection process.
The winning design will be announced in February. Based on the proposals shared Thursday, whichever one emerges as the winner will be an impressive addition to the Kent State campus and to Kent.