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Tinkham Veale University Center


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Case Western Reserve University

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89,513 sq. feet

Construction Cost




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Text by Thomas Fisher, Assoc. AIA

Linking three districts of the Case Western Reserve University campus, this low-slung student center captures the energy of its community with long arms that reach out to passersby and green roofs that visually merge it with the landscape. The building’s angular plan responds to, and wends between, two outdoor spaces: a soccer field covering below-grade parking that could not bear added weight, and an existing sculpture garden containing several pieces by Cleveland-born architect Philip Johnson.

The building follows the flow of pedestrian circulation: A grass ramp stretches toward the nearby art museum and culminates in an outdoor amphitheater, and two-story triangular wings extend toward the engineering and science buildings and toward the liberal arts and professional schools, respectively. A second-story terrace and outdoor stair overlook the quieter sculpture garden.

Ample daylight fills the building’s glass-walled interiors. Wood-clad terraced seating overlooks the double-height lobby, connecting it to second-floor offices and meeting rooms, while another two-story space faces the amphitheater and a third wraps around a media wall.

The building is also energy efficient: a west-facing, ventilated, double-glazed wall allows views while lowering heat gain, and the green roofs insulate and reduce heat-island effects. This student center is not just on the campus, it is of the campus—it is impossible to tell where the building ends and the campus begins.

Project Credits

Project: Tinkham Veale University Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland
Client: Case Western Reserve University
Design Architect/Interior Designer: Perkins+Will, Chicago . Ralph Johnson, FAIA (principal/design principal); Mark Jolicoeur, AIA (principal/project manager); Jeff Stebar, AIA (planning principal); Carl Knutson, AIA (senior project designer); Bryan Schabel, AIA (senior designer); Marc Nunes, AIA, Mark Walsh, AIA (senior project architects); Alex Wu, AIA, Max Adams, AIA, Jason Flores (project architects); Dan Ferrario (arch III); David Sheehan (senior interior designer); Lauren Prickett (interior project manager); Krisan Osterby, Ben Sporer (landscape architects); Laura Kamin-Lyndgaard (landscape arch II); Brian Weatherford (branded environments principal); Dennis Blaul (director of specifications)
Associate Architect: CBLH Design
Mechanical/Electrical Engineer: Affiliated Engineers
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
Civil Engineer: KS Associates
Geotechnical Engineer: Professional Service Industries
Construction Manager: Donley’s
Landscape Architect: Perkins+Will
Lighting Designer: Schuler Shook
Acoustics/Audiovisual: Shen Milsom Wilke
Curtainwall Consultant: Stutzki Engineers
Commissioning Authority: Eaton Corp.
Size: 89,513 gross square feet
Cost: $40 million

This project appears in the March 2016 issue of ARCHITECT, as part of the Perkins+Will project portfolio Ralph Johnson: New Topographies.

Project Description


The design solution for Tinkham Veale University Center bundles 89,000 square feet in a two-story building that borders the east and north sides of an existing parking structure while creating a series of new student collaboration courtyards. The new student center is a model of environmental stewardship through its design, construction and operation. The project exceeds LEED Silver standards through the development of the site, water and energy efficiency, use of sustainable materials and indoor environmental quality. It utilizes renewable energy strategies, daylight harvesting, natural ventilation, radiant heating and cooling and chilled beam systems.
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