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Friday 11 Feb 2011

Kohn Pedersen Fox completes new teaching & student services facility for the University of Minnesota

The new Science Teaching and Student Services Center (STSS) at the University of Minnesota is prominently sited on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Opposite the Weisman Art Museum at the head of the Washington Avenue Bridge, the building acts as a physical and philosophical gateway to the East Bank campus - the Weisman representing the arts; the new STSS, the sciences. The Washington Avenue Bridge, which connects the east and west campus, is traversed by 15,000 students each day.

The proximity of the STSS to this student thoroughfare makes it an ideal location for classrooms and student services. In addition to science teaching classrooms, Advanced Learning Classrooms (ALCs) and traditionally tiered classrooms, the STSS includes the 'One Stop' Center for student services, which accommodates services such as registration, money management, financial planning, and life planning / career services in addition to various administrative offices, conference rooms, and Veterans Affairs offices.

The STSS also includes a student lounge, a café area, and numerous informal student study areas of varied scale. The LEED Gold-certified, five-storey building is organised with a dense bar of classrooms on the east side facing toward the campus, and a more visually open zone on the west side devoted to the student services program and gathering space for students. The design creates dual uses for circulation space, providing generous classroom corridors and broad stairways to encourage use.

Informal study and meeting spaces throughout the building take advantage of program waiting areas after hours. These spaces offer panoramic views of the Mississippi River and downtown Minneapolis skyline. Teaching spaces with raised floors, movable partitions and under-floor air distribution are designed to assure maximum flexibility over time in layouts ranging from traditional tiered classrooms to interactive multi-media project-based teaching configurations.

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