Envision. Collaborate. Plan. Design. Build. 

Envision a commons and lecture hall designed and built entirely by the architecture students it will serve. Today, University of Kansas students enrolled in the School of Architecture, Design & Planning's Studio 804 are building that new space. It is called The Forum. 

Throughout our School’s history, its classroom and studio building Marvin Hall has been missing one thing: a space that would allow more than just a few of our students and faculty to gather together in one place to exchange ideas, to celebrate and collaborate, and absorb wisdom and knowledge from each other. 

The Forum will use Marvins powerful rusticated limestone walls as its starting point. Ever respectful of the buildings existing architecture, the additions new roof will be supported by timber-frame trusses, as used in the original. Then, it will be wrapped in the region’s most sophisticated, naturally-ventilated glass façade. It is the perfect metaphor for bridging the Schools first century with its future. The Forum builds on the past, yet takes advantage of tremendous advances in building technology. It will bring forth the transparency that is part of today’s collaborative educational culture.

The Forum will be a showpiece for not just the School, but the University of Kansas as well, reinforcing the global reputation of KU and the School of Architecture, Design & Planning as two of the most innovative and ambitious educational institutions anywhere. 

This will be the third project that Studio 804 has constructed for the University. The others are the Center for Design Research, and the Hill Engineering Research and Development Center. Both are on KU’s West Campus. The addition to Marvin will also be the largest that the class has built. The entry of the building will include a commons space that will have multiple uses including juries and “pinups,” of our students's work. It will have an auditorium that will seat 120.

Although the use of exterior walls made entirely of glass has become controversial in recent years, this building's facade has been skillfully designed. “It’s called a naturally-ventilated façade,” says Studio 804's director Professor Dan Rockhill. Composed of two layers of glass separated by three feet, when cooling is needed the space between the inner and outer glass walls will opened to prevent heat from building up. In the winter, the sun’s heat will be absorbed, cloaking the building in a warm blanket. Large, repositionable vertical louvers will be used to control the amount of light entering the space.

The Forum will have the first of this highly advanced type of facade in the Midwest. It is being designed with the assistance of Transsolar’s New York office. Transsolar is a world leader in designing high-comfort low-environmental impact built environment solutions, especially through architecturally integrated innovative passive strategies.

 John Gaunt, the Dean of the School of Architecture, Design & Planning said recently, “Every year I say, ‘This is the most ambitious project Studio 804 has ever done.’ Undoubtedly The Forum tops everything else, and it will be our most ambitious fundraising effort. However, I haven’t any doubt that this building is well within our reach in every way, from raising the money with the help of our generous, supportive alumni, to doing the most advanced building envelope in the Midwest.

 “It will be an inspired showpiece for the ingenuity and energy of our students, and for the benefit of the whole School and KU. We are in an exciting time at Marvin Hall, and looking forward to a place of interaction, innovation, and celebration of all that we do. I believe it will transform the culture of our school,” he said.


Press inquires about this project should be directed to Charles Linn, Director of Communications, University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design & Planning, cdlinn@ku.edu. For further information about Studio 804, contact Dan Rockhill at rockhill@sunflower.com.

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