College of Architecture starts phase two of the construction & expansion project

College of Architecture starts phase two of the construction & expansion project

By Kerry McCulloug...

September 21, 2022

New Studio Space

Just in time for the fall semester, the College of Architecture opens up a new library and new studios as part one of a two-phased construction project which began last year and is estimated to be completed in late fall of 2023. By the end of this two-phased construction project, the Architecture Hall building complex will have added or remodeled 33 new studios and a new library among other changes that will take place.

Phase one added 11 new design studios, a wellness room, spray booth and work areas, critique spaces, new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant restrooms and a new 2,490 sf. library with student common and collaboration areas. 

Phase one entailed moving the Architecture Hall Library from the north wing of Architecture Hall East and relocating it to the first floor of Architecture Hall West providing ground floor access for the newly remodeled library. All three floors of Architecture Hall East’s north wing, where the library once stood, are now renovated into much needed studio space.

“We are excited about this highly anticipated, remodel and expansion project,” said Sharon Kuska, interim dean of the College of Architecture. “With a 17% enrollment growth over the last 10 years, it has pushed us over building capacity. This project is essential for accommodating our enrollment goals, creating a contemporary learning environment to attract potential students and providing our students with the best learning environment possible.”

Phase one of this project was implemented by Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture, the Whiting -Turner Contracting Company and Nebraska University Facilities, Planning and Capital Programs.

Phase two which began this fall, involves an expansion project which will add 14 new studios and a renovation of eight studios in the Architecture Hall West building among other changes.  

The firm awarded the contract for the second phase of the project was given to HDR Inc. Phase two will involve the demolition of the “stacks,” a 1957 addition, and replaced with the addition of 14 new studios. Other phase two changes include the remodel of student studios, additional student collaboration areas, classrooms, a materials library, a virtual reality lab, a spray booth, maker spaces, more faculty offices and the relocation of the Geographic Information System (GIS) Lab to the first floor. 

The last time the College of Architecture underwent a major remodel or construction project was in 1987 with the creation of the glass atrium Link building which connected two existing buildings: Architecture Hall East and Architecture Hall West.

The College of Architecture complex houses two of the oldest buildings at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. According to historicbuildings.unl.edu, Architecture Hall East was put into service in 1895 as the old UNL Library with 10,000 volumes and is the oldest building in the UNL system. This building was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Special accommodations are being made to ensure the building’s historical integrity. Architecture Hall West, the old Law College, was built in 1912. Architecture Hall West is the fifth oldest building on UNL’s city campus.