Credit: Weiss/Manfredi and Richard L. Bowen & Associates


The Design Loft scheme designed by New York-based Weiss/Manfredi Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism to serve as a home for the department of architecture at Kent State University is getting a haircut.

The Record-Courier reports that university officials have revealed that the new home for the Kent State College of Architecture and Environmental Design in Kent, Ohio will have four floors instead of five. That means a slightly lower stepwise form than the design by Weiss/Manfredi and Cleveland, Ohio–based Richard L. Bowen & Associates that won the commission in April.

Credit: Weiss/Manfredi and Richard L. Bowen & Associates


The team—which designed a more than 120,000-square-foot tiered structure anchored by a continuous gallery that rises through ascending levels—beat out 37 firms that entered the competition, including four teams that made the finalist round.

The planned 124,000-square-foot building will shrink by 17,000 square foot as it loses one of its five floors and some corridors. At a public presentation, firm co-founder Marion Weiss, FAIA, said that several sustainability features, including the signature green roof, are contingent on future funding, according to the report.

Credit: Weiss/Manfredi and Richard L. Bowen & Associates


That means the design could change considerably. Although the rising step concept certainly appears like it will hold even if it comes down from five floors to four, the connection to the surrounding landscape—a key design and sustainability feature represented mostly by the sloping garden roof—may change considerably if the architects rethink the structure's roof. 

The pictures here all represent the earlier Design Loft scheme; Weiss/Manfredi has not yet released an updated design. For the time being, students and faculty at Kent State are enrolled in a lesson in how compromise defines the architect–client relationship.

Credit: Weiss/Manfredi and Richard L. Bowen & Associates