National architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ) has been awarded Kent State University’s new Design Innovation Hub (d.i.Hub) project. The facility, envisioned to be a transformative student centre, will support cross-disciplinary collaboration in a makerspace and design-focused environment.
A key component in Kent State’s new masterplan, the d.i.Hub will occupy the 1972 Art Building designed by Australian architect John Andrews. The adaptive reuse of the iconic 65,000-square-foot space, scheduled for completion in 2020, will include full interior and exterior renovations, as well as a significant dining component that serves the entire campus – a unique feature for the maker space building typology
As part of their interview for the project, the BCJ team utilized a simple conceptual model to demonstrate a variety of design options. Focusing on creating an active and collaborative interior learning environment, the team usedcolored blocks to represent the variety of proposed program activities that will occur within, including large and small makerspaces, studios, dining, and incubator space – illustrating to the selection committee the potential of their dynamic program through a creative test-fit programming exercise.
Team members from BCJ’s Wilkes Barre, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco studios will collaborate on the project, including Principal Bill Loose, Associate Principal Michael Maiese, and Senior Associate and Kent State alumnus Josh Keller. Together, they bring a wealth of design experience in higher education and workplace projects for many of the world’s leading innovation and technology companies, including Apple, Square, Twitter, and Under Armour.
Michael Maiese, principal-in-charge for the d.i.Hub said,
“Kent State’s vision is both ambitious and inspiring, which are qualities we look for when taking on a project,. The building will enable hands-on, project-based learning, and we’re excited to collaborate with the university to foster community and design innovation on campus.”
The d.i.Hub adds to the firm’s growing portfolio of collaborative innovation and maker spaces, which includes ANSYS Hall & Undergraduate Maker Center at Carnegie Mellon University, and the Siebel Center for Design at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, both currently in construction.
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson will collaborate with local architect Domokur Architects on the project, as well as a team of consultants.