Anne Taylor Carros
Lord Aeck Sargent
May 12, 2005
Construction Underway on Augusta State University Student Activities Center
Building Design Blends in With Mix of Existing Architecture
AUGUSTA, Ga., May 12, 2005 – Construction is underway at Augusta State University’s main campus on a Student Activities Center whose design picks up on the historical themes of the campus, blends with the 1970s era modernist library to which it’s connected, and maintains consistency with more recent campus architectural standards.
The two-story, 48,000-square-foot facility was designed by the Atlanta architecture firm Lord, Aeck & Sargent. Augusta-based 2KM Architects is the architect of record. Construction on the facility will be completed in March 2006, with a total project cost of $11.1 million.
“Augusta State’s main Walton Way campus is a mixture of 19th century, early 1940s Federalist and 1970s architecture, and we tasked Lord, Aeck & Sargent with designing a building that would blend in with this mix,” said Kathy Hamrick, special coordinator for academic and master planning. “They did a fantastic job.”
Hamrick added, “Lord, Aeck & Sargent, with assistance from 2KM, listened carefully to our students, our dean of students and many others, and created a solution that will give us the biggest bang for our dollars.”
The Student Activities Center will combine with the academic heart of the campus and also become its new social heart. It will replace an existing student center on the fringe of the campus. That building, known as Washington Hall, will be renovated for general classroom space.
“We designed a building that will be a welcoming facility on the main campus quad, and it will be a building that students will feel is theirs because they attended design meetings and provided input about what they wanted,” said Joe Greco, AIA, Lord, Aeck & Sargent design principal for the project.
The building’s first floor comprises a cyber café, kitchen, dining area, food court, formal banquet hall, student activities offices and study areas. The second floor includes a fitness center, a game room, TV lounges, club meeting rooms, student government offices, campus newspaper and magazine offices, and additional study areas.
About the Design
The new Student Activities Center will connect with the Reese Library, which was built in1976.
“We addressed the challenge of designing a building that would blend in with the modernist library by matching its red brick and cream-colored pre-cast concrete, by picking up on the historical themes of the older buildings on campus, and by borrowing some themes from the most recent campus architecture,” Greco noted.
“The challenge of visually harmonizing the modernist library with a more traditional architecture was met by creating continuity with horizontal banding and by creating gaps between the two architectural styles that are clad with glass,” Greco continued. “We used glass in a much more substantial way to enhance openness to the outside and to demarcate the facility’s four main entrances, which are also marked by suspended canopies.”
The Student Activity Center’s connection to the Reese Library is through the cyber café. Greco described the space as the “atrium street” and the heart of the combined complex. This main space is lit with clerestory windows above and contains an inviting public staircase that leads to the second floor balcony. The balcony accesses the game room and fitness center, both of which overlook the atrium.
Informal study nooks are situated along the building’s main public face to take advantage of the large windows and views of the campus.
Last Project in a Master Plan
The Student Activities Center is the last major construction project in a 10-year master plan for Augusta State’s main Walton Way campus. The plan, which involved the demolition of six outdated academic buildings and the construction of three large academic buildings along with the Student Activities Center, is aimed at making the campus more pedestrian friendly.
A public/private project of the Augusta State University Foundation and the University System of Georgia, the building is being funded through a Student Center Fee of $45 per student each semester for 30 years.
The Project Team
In addition to Lord, Aeck & Sargent as design architect and 2KM Architects as architect of record, the Augusta State University Student Activities Center project team includes:
- R.W. Allen & Associates (Augusta), construction manager
- Carter & Associates (Atlanta), program manager
- Pruett, Ford & Associates (Augusta), mechanical, plumbing and fire protection engineers
- Electrical Design Consultants (Augusta), electrical engineers
- W.R. Toole Engineers (Augusta) civil engineers and landscape architects
- Johnson, Laschober & Associates (Augusta), structural engineers
About Lord, Aeck & Sargent
Founded in 1942, Lord, Aeck & Sargent is an award-winning architectural firm serving clients in scientific, academic, historic preservation, arts and cultural, and housing and mixed-use development markets. The firm’s core values are responsive design, technological expertise and exceptional service. Lord, Aeck & Sargent is headquartered in Atlanta and has branch offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For more information, visit the firm at www.lordaecksargent.com.