Merit - SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture for a New Building

Knox College

Knox College Whitcomb Art Center
Knox College - Knox College Whitcomb Art Center
Jury Comments
“. . . I appreciate the quality of light in the spaces . . . a special little gem that fits into the community quite well . . . it’s very humble and sits gently on the site . . . the program and built expression are very appropriate for this location . . .”


    • Site – 73,225 sq ft; Building – 27,478 sq ft
    • LEED Gold
    • All stairs double as open gathering hubs.
    • Almost 80% of the building area is assignable.
    • “The building is not itself an art piece. Rather, it is a deliberate and economical device for making art.”


Knox College sought to not simply create a facility that provides ample high-performance academic space for the studio and art history departments, but to design one that would also inspire an exchange of knowledge and ideas, that would enliven a sense of curiosity, discovery, and possibility. The design responds with open studios so that students and faculty circulate freely between studios, encountering other students’ work naturally throughout a day. Gallery and pin-up spaces coexist with the circulation halls and stairs. Double-height gathering spaces serve as impromptu meeting and connector spaces that provide visual connectivity between studios and between floor levels. The interior is simply finished to provide a blank canvas for creative expressions. Biophilic design principles are used throughout the building, including prioritization of daylight, views to nature, and use of natural, warm, and tactile materials.

Project Team

Lake|Flato Architects; Klingner & Associates; P.J. Hoerr; Lynch Harrison & Brumleve; Affiliated Engineers Inc.; Hoerr Schaudt; BLDD