Architects for Union renovation seek student input

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Student groups, alongside organizations who occupy the K-State Student Union, met with the architects from Bowman Bowman Novick, Inc. and Workshop Architects Inc. Thursday to discuss the coming renovation.

Workshop Architects described itself as a 20-person “boutique” firm based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jan van den Kieboom, owner of Workshop, led the discussion.

“Our real interest is in social ergonomics, or how space impacts socialization patterns, and it’s driven us towards a practice that’s heavily involved in student centers,” van den Kieboom said.

Workshop is interested in creating a more experiential path, in order to keep students in the Union instead of having them just pass through. Another priority of the firm is making the building more visually permeable, so that people can see what’s going on inside and outside the Union.

“What we heard was that the whole building ‘didn’t feel right,'”van den Kieboom said. “It needs to be warmer, (have) more texture, feel more like a family room and it should have lots and lots of purple.”

An analysis of the Union’s facilities was completed by Bowman Bowman Novick’s team. The facility-condition assessment determined that the building’s mechanical systems, kitchen, windows, furniture and technology all need to be replaced.

The budget is set at $25 million and, according to van den Kieboom, the Union could use closer to $50 million in renovations. Due to budget limitations, a majority of what needs to be determined is what the priorities are.

The Union Renovation Committee is interested in active input from architecture students in particular, especially during the schematic design phase of the project.

“What we want to do is provide assistance where ever we can,” Jeremy Migneco, sophomore in architecture, said. “Some of the things we discussed were making it feel the way that students want it to feel. A lot of them mentioned that it should be a family room, not a living room, and to make it feel family-oriented just like our students are.”

Van den Kieboom said he planned on continuing to meet with architecture students in order to get their ideas and allow them to see the process.

“It is such an asset to have students, who understand design and language, help,” Peter van den Kieboom, an architect for Workshop, said.

Bowman Bowman Novick and Workshop will have a booth in Bosco Student Plaza on Oct. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to talk with K-State students.

“This is K-State’s heart,” Migneco said. “It’d be amazing to have a hand in saying what it looks like, how it feels, and how people use it.”

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