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Students offer design ideas for campus landmark
Student designers get to work on Administration Building.

By Gabrielle Maxey

The challenge: The Administration Building, once regarded as the grand structure on campus, no longer provides a significant, positive entry experience for the many people who visit it each day. The solution: U of M architecture and interior design students were invited to design an entry experience for the building that respects the past while providing a dynamic, inviting space that encourages interaction and reflects a 21st century workplace.

"This competition was particularly challenging," said Michael Hagge, chair of the Department of Architecture. "It required students to first define what the architecture of a '21st century' university should be, and then create an experiential response within the context of the design program."

The competition — "A Vision for a Twenty-First Century University: Rethinking the Entry to the Administration Building" — was open to students in the first and second years of the master of architecture (MArch) degree program and students in the third and four years of the BFA degree programs in architecture and interior design. Because of the complexity of the design problem, the competition was not open to first- and second-year BFA students. In all, 39 students submitted entries.

Rather than award first, second and third place, the Award of Distinction was presented to five finalists. The winners, announced at an event Jan. 24, were Matt Sihvonen, second year MArch; Megan Hoover, first year MArch; Rose Pereira, first year MArch; Jacob Vaughn, fourth year BFA in architecture; and Jacqueline Sappenfield, four year BFA in interior design. Each finalist also received $500.

arch 
Megan Hoover's design of a new entry way into the Administration Building was one of five finalists for a competition to "modernize" the entrance to one of the U of M's original buildings. 

The design jury found elements to admire in many of the entries, but said the finalists best represented visions that ranged from "out there" to conservative.

One of the winning entries creates a "slice" through the Administration Building, connecting two major nodes of student activity: the University Center and the seating area outside the Tiger Den. By creating this path, students may freely pass through the building instead of walking around it.

Another entry creates a two-story addition south of the Administration Building which features a lounge and mezzanine surround by a reflecting pool. It links to a café in the Administration Building.

"Participating in design competitions is an essential part of design education as well as practice," said Hagge. "Providing opportunities such as this competition to our students significantly enhances their preparation for entry into the professional workplace after graduation. We sincerely appreciate President Brad Martin for working with the Department of Architecture to make this competition a reality."

Hagge said the designs may actually be used in the future to modernize the Administration Building, though the intent of the contest was more of a learning exercise. 

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