Designed to keep you guessing

James
Wednesday 24 Feb 2010

RTKL design educational facility that provides opportunities for creative outlet at every turn

Faced with a growing demand for on-campus housing, the Maryland Institute College of Art sought a new student residence that would serve as an appropriate campus gateway, highlight the northern edge of the school’s property and create a 'real-world' and independent living environment for the school’s upperclassmen.

Conceived in an inter-office design competition among RTKL’s global offices, the 110,000 sq ft, 11-storey structure, completed in August 2008, defies the double-loaded corridors of traditional dormitory design and instead features a circular drum sectioned into residential apartments and studio space. The drum’s pixilated facade is comprised of 16 types of glass and reflects diversity, motion and interaction among floors. To foster a sense of community, the drum’s interior glass walls overlook an open-air central courtyard, enabling students to gather and socialise in an area protected from the busy road.

The design responds to a variety of spatial and programmatic challenges, and offers innovative solutions that seamlessly integrate student life with the creation of art, in a safe and functional environment. The building provides opportunities for creative outlet at every turn. Within the building’s 63 apartments, interior materials were selected for their durability and strength to accommodate the students’ expressive lifestyles. Pin-up boards, gallery space and stages equipped with performance lighting and sound encourage students to share their creativity with others.

The building’s other unique spaces include a Black Box Theater performance space with no fixed auditorium elements, a Career Development Center, a café with open-air courtyard, plus office and conference facilities.

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