GSAA cleave new Mecca for student life in effort to re-integrate campus
Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects (GSAA) have just finished work on a new Student Center for Cleveland State University in downtown Cleveland. Working with firm Braun & Steidl Architects, GSAA has designed a contemporary structure to give a new sense of place to the university and reconnect the university to the city of Cleveland.
As GSAA Associate Partner and project architect Joe Ruocco said: “Our interactions with the CSU staff, administrators, and student representatives was key to formulating our approach—and our dialogue with the local community really enriched the design.”
The new facility is dedicated to student activity space, dining and food service, retail and meeting rooms, becoming the focus of community life for the university. At the same time, the new center engages and enlivens its downtown surroundings; visitors entering from the Euclid Avenue side are greeted with verdant lawns and a broad entryway that slopes gently from the street front, a subtle, welcoming touch that also facilitates access for the disabled.
“We think of a student center as the ‘living room’ of a campus,” says GSAA principal Robert Siegel. All the functions Gwathmey Siegel included in the building envelope—bookstore, dining, lounge, computer access, offices for student activities and conference meeting spaces—are housed on three stories surrounding a central atrium. The Euclid Avenue main entry leads directly into this sky-lit circulation and activity space, which also connects with campus pedestrian bridges, the main plaza, and below grade parking behind and beneath the center.