Project File: $40 million facelift

Aiming to make the arts a more integral part of the campus experience, Towson University, Towson, Md., has begun a $40 million expansion and renovation of its 31-year-old Center for the Arts. When complete in 2005, the expanded center will contain the academic departments of music, theater arts, art and dance.

Design plans include creating a new exterior image for the existing building, improving connections to the rest of the campus, reassembling most of the interior spaces, and adding a new 135,000-square-foot, four-story program area to improve the adjacencies of departments. The building renovation consists of upgrading and replacing the infrastructure and building systems, upgrading acoustics for interior spaces, and improving energy efficiency, pedestrian and vehicle circulation, and circulation between departments and interior spaces.

The exterior facades have been designed to reorient the building to the main section of the campus. The circulation through the building has been reorganized using a central atrium and key program spaces that assist visitors in their navigation of the 600-foot-long building. The resulting plan produces a coherent pathway, allowing each department representation on the central two-story student commons. The design of the exterior is modern, yet sympathetic, to the existing brick and stone architecture. Using brick, precast concrete, curving walls, large windows and prominent cornice lines, the building will provide a landmark for students, faculty, staff and the many visitors that will come to the center to view the united works of Towson's art community.

A phasing plan was developed to allow the center to remain open during the new construction and renovation.

The design team is a joint venture of Design Collective (Baltimore) and Wilson Butler Lodge (Boston).

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