OZ Architecture Selected to Design Richardson Center on Colorado State University Campus
DENVER, CO Colorado State University has selected OZ Architecture to design its Richardson Design Center, which will house the college's interior design program while also providing a space for collaboration, prototyping and fabrication to be used by a variety of programs campus-wide. The new building will include 45,000 square feet and three stories, and will be located adjacent to the new Colorado State Stadium. Colorado-based Saunders Construction, Inc. is the general contractor on the design-build project.
The CSU Richardson Design Center reflects the forward-thinking integration of maker spaces as essential to modern design curricula. This building will house the interior design program along with a gallery to display and review student works. There will also be maker-type spaces for prototyping, 3D printing, fabric, wood and metal fabrication. Additionally, the building will have ideation, prototyping and fabrication labs which will house the maker spaces to develop design concepts through iterative prototyping. This maker space will be a resource for programs across campus, including interior design, construction management, product development, visual arts, and landscape architecture, and will eventually expand to include the college of business, computer science and engineering. At its core, the Richardson Design Center creates a place perfect for cross-disciplinary collaboration.
In order to support these programs, the Richardson Design Center will feature modern technology infrastructure for 3D printing, digital design and visual presentation. The building will house two computer labs, three interior design studios, a resource library, an ideation lab, a prototyping lab, and a fabrication lab. In addition, collaboration spaces will be thoughtfully designed into this space in order to encourage chance encounters, and facilitate collaboration between students on a daily basis. The building's central gallery and atrium space will define an intuitive gathering and entry space, which is projected to be a central hub of activity.
"When it comes to designing higher education buildings of the future, it's less about technology and more about fostering interpersonal connections," said David Schafer, OZ Architecture Principal and Higher Education Practice Area Leader. "One of the key features is a grand stair that allows people to literally bump into one another, encouraging chance meetings that can lead to collaboration opportunities."
The building will be designed on a diagonal axis, about 30 degrees off from the main campus and straddling a passage that runs from the southwest corner to the northeast corner of the site. At ground level, pedestrians traversing campus will walk through a portal in the building with the second floor above them. This pedestrian circulation path has been branded "Inspiration Alley". Windows on either side will open up to the gallery space and ideation lab, allowing people outside to witness the activity within, and vice versa. This visual connectivity will encourage the passerby to enter into the spaces and engage in the design process further fostering the collaboration and iterative design process.
On the upper floors, interior design studios will offer secure places for students to work on project deadlines, especially during the dark hours of late night and early morning. The large windows allow plenty of light during the day, and act as beacons during the night, showcasing constant activity.
The Richardson Center is intended to relate to the existing CSU architecture, but also differentiate from it as an evolving piece of the campus aesthetic. Reinventing the midcentury-modern style with an emphasis on the horizontal lines that exist on campus already, the design emphasizes horizontal panels, windows, and roof lines, and uses no stone or brick masonry. The style is heavily influenced by the Bauhaus style of architecture, which is founded on the idea of collaborative arts. One of the primary goals is to create a space that is neutral across all disciplines, and that is welcoming to different students in different programs, aiming to create a broader sense of ownership and interdepartmental value.
The passageway of windows featuring the interior ideation labs and galleries will immediately connect the indoor and outdoor spaces. Indeed, the new Richardson Design Center will embrace the distant mountain views and landscapes that are so important to CSU students, creating an integrated design that preserves the best parts of campus while ushering it seamlessly into the future.
Construction is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2019.