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Kohrman Hall renovation receives architectural award

by Deanne Puca

June 5, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of WMU's recently renovated Kohrman Hall.
Kohrman Hall
Photo by Jim Haefner, courtesy of SmithGroup
KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's renovation of a portion of Kohrman Hall has been honored for design excellence by the American Institute of Architects Michigan.

The building's south wing received one of 11 AIA Michigan Design Award projects, announced in May at the organization's annual Celebration of Architecture. Sixty-five projects were entered in the competition, and they were judged by a jury from St. Louis.

WMU's project was recognized for "simple use of materials and color…interesting spaces and geometries. A creative environment," according to juror comments.

The two-phase renovation of Kohrman Hall began in 2006. It was based on plans by SmithGroup, the Detroit architectural firm that also designed the Richmond Center for Visual Arts, which was completed in 2007 and to which the Kohrman renovation is attached. The Kohrman work was completed in 2008 by contractor CSM Group.

The first phase of the renovation included a complete reconfiguration of the south wing of Kohrman, which was previously home to WMU's engineering school. The overhaul created dedicated studio spaces designed to serve students' specific program needs, while providing flexible classrooms, critique spaces and collaborative studios that are shared by students and faculty of various programs. A bridge connection links South Kohrman's studios and classrooms with the galleries of the Richmond Center, creating an integrated home for the Frostic School of Art.

For more information, contact Lynne Merrill Francis at or (313) 965-4100.