AIA Michigan Awards 2010
by Brian Libby
The Richmond Center for Visual Arts in Kalamazoo is striking, with building forms tied to its arts hub functions.
Copper cladding, curving in two dimensions, wraps the lobby and front exhibit areas, setting off a large glazed facade section that allows natural light deep into the space. The lightness of the glass and copper, and of zinc that wraps the lecture areas, contrasts with the visual weight of the precast concrete panels cladding the rest of the building.
Designed by SmithGroup, the new center for Western Michigan University was honored by the Michigan chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in its 2010 design awards. The jury for AIA Michigan chose the 12 honorees, including university buildings, corporate offices, a private home, and a factory, to exemplify thoughtful, efficient, and beautiful design.
Arts in Kalamazoo
The Richmond Center for Visual Arts serves as a key connector for Western Michigan University's College of Fine Arts, linking Kohrman Hall, housing the Frostic School of Art, with the Dalton Center, housing music and dance, and joining the complex to a nearby parking garage.
Exiting the Miller Parking Deck on a connecting bridge, visitors to the Richmond Center are treated to views of the sculpture court and garden and then Miller Plaza, with its large fountain. On reaching the center, the bridge transitions into a balcony overlooking the lobby and main exhibit spaces on the first floor.
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