Inspiring Architecture School Buildings: Knowlton Hall Recognized by ArchDaily

To find insight and inspiration for the design of a building, students in Knowlton Hall simply need to survey their surroundings. In a summer 2018 article, ArchDaily listed Knowlton Hall as one of 15 “significant and recent architecture school buildings that inspire and challenge the next generations of designers.”

Of the six U.S. schools listed, including Yale Art + Architecture Building, Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Princeton School of Architecture (2012 addition), Knowlton Hall at Ohio State was one of two public state universities recognized, sharing the distinction with Clemson University College of Architecture. International schools include the School of Architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden), UC Architecture School Building (Chile) and Strasbourg School of Architecture (France).

In the article, “15 Inspiring Architecture School Buildings from Around the World,” Jack McManus states, “As the buildings are the places where students first learn how to read and understand architecture, design schools become full-scale teaching tools that help new designers grasp structure, details, how materials perform and interact, and so many of the other core concepts of architecture.”

Visitors to Knowlton Hall often note the concrete walls and visible infrastructure in comments that the building appears unfinished. This design intention, which reinforces and enhances the pedagogy within the Knowlton School, is a value to our students, as noted in the ArchDaily article: “Exposed structural elements and unfinished surfaces are also desirable in a building for teaching—while other clients might prefer to hide some less aesthetic building elements, revealing them helps students connect academic study to the reality of their surroundings.”

Through view corridors and verbal and visual connections, such as open galleries and design studios, people can understand and process activities going on beyond their intimate environment. “Students can look at this building and see how a building can operate spatially to affect change, and by that I mean you cannot walk through this building and not get an education,” commented Knowlton School Director Mike Cadwell. “You cannot walk through this building and not see other students’ work, and I think it’s that availability that is such a remarkable feature of the building.”

Hosting the Knowlton School with its disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture and city and regional planning, Knowlton Hall was designed by Mack Scogin Merril Elam Architects of Atlanta, with Wandel & Schnell of Columbus (now WSA Studio). Landscape architecture was designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, New York and Cambridge. Knowlton Hall has been recognized by national publications, such as Architecture, Competitions, Dwell, Praxis and Architectural Record, and won numerous awards:

American Institute of Architects, National; Architecture Honor Award, 2010

American Institute of Architects/American Library Association; Award of Excellence, 2005

American Institute of Architects, Georgia; Honor Award, 2006

American Institute of Architects, Ohio; Honor Award, 2005

American Institute of Architects, Columbus; Honor Award, 2009

American Council of Engineering Companies; National Recognition Award, 2005

American Council of Engineering Companies, Ohio; Grand Award, 2005

International Masonry Institute, Ohio; Golden Trowel Award, 2005

Post Tensioning Institute; Award of Excellence, 2004

Columbus Landmarks Association; James B. Recchie Design Award, Finalist, 2007