KSU chooses four finalists for architecture building’s design



Carrie Blazina

And then there were four.

The eight design firms in the running to design Kent State’s new building for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design have been narrowed down to:

? Bialosky and Partners Architects, with offices in New York and Cleveland, in association with Architecture Research Office of New York. The firm has designed a number of buildings for college campuses, including the Hospitality Management Building at Cuyahoga Community College.

? Richard L. Bowen and Associates Inc. of Cleveland, which designed the Hopkins Cleveland International Airport

? The Collaborative Inc. of Toledo, in association with the Miller Hull Partnership of Seattle, which designed Kent State’s Esplanade

? Westlake Reed Leskosky, with offices in Cleveland and four other cities, which designed the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls

Douglas Steidl, dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, said the four finalists were chosen on the basis of phone interviews about the firms’ approaches to design, function, sustainability, cost and what they have done in the past.

In January, the four selected teams will present their design concepts, sustainability data and a cost estimate to the selection committee, the press release said, and a winner will be chosen in February.

Steidl said the four finalists will be making their presentations to the public as well in an event Jan. 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. in Cartwright Hall, where students, faculty and the general public will all be able to get a first look at the designs.

Emily Vincent, director of University Media Relations, said the selection committee also plans to use a third-party independent source to analyze the designs, data and estimates.

The target cost of the building is about $40 million, according to a press release, and it will be located on the Esplanade extension, which is currently being constructed near downtown Kent.

The new building is part of several building projects funded by a $170 million bond taken out by the university this summer and approved by the Board of Trustees Sept. 12. The projects also include a new building for the College of Technology, renovations of Williams, Smith and Cunningham halls and the consolidation of the buildings used by the School of Art.

Steidl said the selection committee’s procedure is nontraditional. Instead of making a “shortlist” of four to six firms, interviewing the candidates, awarding the contract and then asking for a building design, the committee made a short list, interviewed, shortened the list and now is having a competition to pick the winner based on the designs the firms submit.

Because this is architects designing a building for architects, Steidl said, the process is a blend of a competition and the traditional process.

Steidl said the college is looking forward to its new building.

“We’re excited about the building, we’re excited about the location and we look forward to looking at the four finalists’ presentations,” he said.

Contact Carrie Blazina at [email protected].