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University Pavilion University of Cincinnati Architect: Leers Weinzapfel Associates Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA Completion: 2002 NFA: 9,600 m2 Photography: Alan Karchmer & Peter Aaron / Esto

Lateral section

Longitudinal section

1. The University Pavilion framing one end of the central McMicken Commons 2. The midlevel entry for students located at the foot of a broad stair leading to the upper level of the Commons

In support of campus master-planning goals, the University of Cincinnati wished to bring together admissions, enrollment, financial aid, registrar, bursar, career development, educational services, disability services and a new visitor centre into a user-friendly “one-stop� building at the heart of the campus. The site on McMicken Commons, the historic centre of campus, was occupied by a small academic building, which was to be demolished to make way for the much larger University Pavilion. Sloping more than nine metres from the academic ridge to the lower ravine, the site is surrounded by some of the most significant structures on campus, including the original 1948 McMicken Hall, whose roofline established the height limit for the new building. Entries and connections to adjacent buildings on several levels were desired. Constrained on all sides and in its height, the site set a significant challenge for its new programme. A compact six-storey rectangular volume of simple strength dramatically embedded in the steep slope, the building forms a clear boundary to the commons and defines a new campus entry plaza. The long side of the building facing the commons is conceived as a "window on the campus", alive with activity and movement between several levels and entrances. An upperlevel entrance at the visitor centre acts as a front door for the campus and the admissions department. A mid-level entrance from the commons leads directly to the Student Service Area, with a large open space containing flexible meeting pods for assistance with online registration, financial aid and other transactions. A lower-level entrance allows access to the frequently visited departments for career development and educational/tutoring services from a nearby parking structure. The top floor of the building, which houses the offices of the president and senior administrators, is surrounded by a loggia, reducing the reading of the volume to five storeys. Closely coordinated with the campus landscape master plan, an exterior stair descends the slope to connect upper and lower campuses. Inside, a broad stairway within the atrium zone parallels the exterior steps. Together, the exterior and interior stairs form a welcome campus passage in fair or inclement weather. At the upper three office floors, meeting rooms extend into the atrium, and at the roof level, an observation terrace, overlooking the commons, provides a dramatic crown for the building, a destination for visitors, and a venue for campus functions. Beyond the atrium zone, a largely open office area on each floor offers maximum flexibility and enjoys light from all sides of the building. Because of the size and density of the new building, careful selection of exterior materials was essential to avoid a heavy and overwhelming presence. Relatively smaller in scale, surrounding buildings are largely brick and limestone. A strategy of two contrasting materials snugly wrapping the

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University Architecture  

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