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  Kennesaw State University, Visual Arts Classrooms & Offices, Page 21Kennesaw State University, Visual Arts Classrooms & Offices
Rosser International, Inc. 
524 West Peachtree Street, N.W., Atlanta, GA 30308

Kennesaw, Georgia
Total Square Feet: 32,423
Construction Period: Nov 1999 to Apr 2001

Construction Team
General Contractor: J. Kinson Cook, Inc. - 3585 Trotters Drive, Alpharetta, GA 30004
Structural Engineer: Rosser International, Inc. - 524 West Peachtree Street, N.W., Atlanta, GA 30308
Electrical & Mechanical Engineer: Rosser International, Inc. - 524 West Peachtree Street, N.W., Atlanta, GA 30308
Landscape Architect: Rosser International, Inc. - 524 West Peachtree Street, N.W., Atlanta, GA 30308
Cost Estimator: Costing Services Group, Inc. - 1447 Peachtree Street, N.W., #209, , Atlanta, GA 30309

The KSU Visual Arts Classroom and Office Building is a state-of-the-art educational facility that reflects the changing trends in art education. The design integrates computer-aided design with traditional hands-on studio environments in a safe and efficient facility.

This multi-story building is organized into three distinct elements; a large high-bay studio component, a classroom and computer lab component, and a dynamic circulation spine. The studio component contains studios and shops for welding, sculpture, woodworking, ceramics, painting, drawing, printmaking and photography. The classroom area provides for computer graphics studios, art education labs, meeting rooms, and the administrative and faculty suite.

The open circulation spine allows the studio component to converge with the classroom component through a multi-story atrium space. This provides display area for student and faculty artwork, jury spaces, and student gathering. The studio floors step down the steep slope of the building site, reducing the need for large and costly retaining walls while allowing all studios to have direct access to the exterior. The studios are connected with a sloping hallway that allows for the movement of art supplies from the loading docks. 

A design that allows kinetic and visual integration of computer-aided design with traditional hands-on studio environments is what makes the building progressive. But it also presents a number of special challenges, including student safety, accreditation requirements, materials transportation, natural lighting, ease of maintenance and durability. Student safety issues and solutions include emergency eye wash stations in studios, air circulation methods to evacuate odors and fumes, and special exhaust hoods for chemicals and dust. Allowing visual access across the circulation spine and maintaining a physical separation for dust and noise provided the solution for the integration of the traditional arts and computer studios. Industrial grade sinks and floor drains, exposed concrete floors and ceilings, plywood surfaces on walls provide extreme durability to the studios.

KSU Visual Arts Department staff had a vision and provided comprehensive requirements for the facility outcome. The unique design of this building reflects their vision, integrated with cost saving approaches to the site conditions. The faculty offices were pulled out of the studios and arranged along a hallway that provides separation from the active classrooms and student areas. The traditional studios were designed with regards to lighting requirements, access to natural light and the outside, and power requirements for various kilns, machines, and tools. The computer labs were designed with regards to flexibility, power and data requirements, and digital projection equipment. This design provides educators with flexibility in how the room is arranged based on teaching preferences.

The project cost was paramount, in that the school desired the largest building possible for the allotted budget. Accommodating the building’s design to the site played the largest role in cost effectiveness. The use of industrial materials, exposed structure and concrete floor, exposed mechanical systems, ramped hallways, and stepping studio floors reduce the overall project cost, allow the building to compliment adjacent campus context, and maximize interior spaces.

The building has recently been awarded first place by the American Concrete Institute for the aesthetic, creative, and innovative use of concrete in building design and construction and was recognized for “Outstanding Architecture and Design in Education” by College Planning & Management magazine.

DIV 07: Built-Up: Johns Manville.
DIV 08: Curtainwall: Tubelite.
DIV 09: Base: Roppe; VCT: Amtico AB Color Plus; Carpet: Shaw.

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