Western Michigan University School of Art - Richmond Center for Visual Arts

School of Art, Richmond Center for Visual Arts
School of Art, Richmond Center for Visual Arts
School of Art, Richmond Center for Visual Arts
School of Art, Richmond Center for Visual Arts

Welcomed as a “masterpiece" by the client, this art-and-learning center presents an iconic shape and a soaring, triple-height atrium that make it a literal focal point for the university's fine-arts village. Its monumental folded plane of lapped copper panels reads as a single element that encloses the bright, open interiors. A curved zinc-paneled wall provides visual counterpunch.

Client

Western Michigan University

Location

Kalamazoo, MI

Markets/Services

Higher Education, Cultural, Arts Education, Arts Education, Structural Engineering, MEP Engineering, Lighting Design

Size

45,000 SF

Featured Awards

2010, AIA Michigan Honor Award

2008, AIA Detroit Honor Award

View All Awards

2008, New Construction Award, North American Copper in Architecture Awards

The new building's design screams its use and will literally become the bridge that connects the university's fine arts community. I see the Richmond Center for Visual Arts as a very strong architectural statement for the Western Michigan University Campus. 

Evie Asken
Director of WMU Campus Planning

The pure magnetism of this sculptural gesture serve a secondary function: to link together other fine-arts facilities using glass “connectors," including a sleek pedestrian bridge. In this way, SmithGroup transcends mere building design and turns this arts center into not only a new “front door" for the arts village but also an urbanizing, galvanizing force for the entire campus.

Inside, the center's layout flows from its exhilarating lobby through to a generous sculpture garden, a student lounge, and exhibit and classroom spaces, including stacked lecture halls. Galleries for permanent and traveling exhibits welcome visitors.