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Dirt Works Studio redesigns Nunemaker Center classrooms

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

LAWRENCE – University of Kansas students in the School of Architecture & Design’s Dirt Works Studio will be wrapping up and showing off their redesign and renovation of two classrooms in the Nunemaker Center on Daisy Hill during a ribbon cutting May 15.

The Dirt Works Studio – a third-year architecture design-build studio led by Associate Professor Chad Kraus – has brought sunlight into once-dark classrooms and enhanced the openness of common spaces for the University Honors Program. Students completed their design of the new space during the first eight weeks of the fall 2018 semester and spent most of their Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays this spring dedicated to its construction.

The rooms will now be more connected to the atrium space, have more natural lighting and will feature digital presentation systems. The students also incorporated various materials into the design, such as glass, maple wood and black back-painting that can be written on to make the space brighter, more modern and functional for the students who will be using it.

Walls separating the classrooms and the atrium space were removed to let in borrowed natural light, especially for the smaller of the two rooms. Its glass wall will feature a set of double doors which open into the atrium space. In the larger room, they expanded the walls, doubling the space. The walls will feature the same design elements as the smaller room but will also include a glass cutout corner for more borrowed lighting.  

The ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house at the Nunemaker Center will be from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 15. The center is located at 1506 Engel Road. Refreshments will be provided.

Dirt Works Studio is drawn to natural materials that come from the earth, that literally grow from the dirt beneath our feet or are of the earth itself. The studio strives to cultivate a heightened sensitivity to cultural and natural forces latent to the specific conditions of each project. The studio explores environmentally sustainable and experientially fertile materials, such as rammed earth, mass timber and bamboo. Design principles are drawn from complex and layered contexts – physical, historical, cultural and poetical.

More information about Dirt Works Studio is available at dirtworksstudio.ku.edu.

Photo: Early renovations at Nunemaker Center. Credit: Kelcie Matousek.

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