BGSU – Park Avenue Warehouse Renovation
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The program transformed a 31,000 sf 1960 warehouse into a state of the art learning environment for the School of Architecture that facilitates collaboration, projects a strong identity for the program, and enhances recruitment/retention while allowing for changes as the program evolves. The environment serves as a teacher, providing tangible demonstrations of building systems, structure, innovative spatial definition, creative detailing, & tactile engagement. It elevates the primary activity – interactive crit-based instruction – to a position of prominence, allowing the academic efforts of the inhabitants to take center stage. From the continuous 300’ crit-wall to the dynamic presentation space of the pivot-walls (separating studio spaces from more public areas) to the pin-up surfaces that adorn virtually every vertical surface, the project highlights the work of the students, facilitating feed-back and peer-learning. A significant driver was the budget (TOTAL project cost =$95/SF). We identified a limited pallet of materials (drywall, homasote, limited areas of storefront, salvaged chalk-board slates) that fit the budgetary constraints & developed a design strategy that squeezed the maximum impact from a minimum of moves. A desire for easy communication between faculty and students led to the creation of a free-standing “office-block” which, along with a similar “Lecture/Library-block”, became the primary means by which to organize the space within the warehouse.