Ferris State University Center
A complex renovation, the team surgically “cut out” parts of the existing structure that were beyond their useful life, and connected new elements which were most appropriate in scale, materials, and shape for the program functions.Renovating the former Rankin Student Center (which received additions in 1960 and 1987) was identified as a priority in the university facilities plan after the University Center Renovation Visioning Task Force began a dialogue in late 2011. Originally built in 1957, the building was in need of once again becoming a stimulating student-centered academic environment. The Center had become dog-eared, disparate and disconnected – socially, physically, and functionally. During the course of design, program elements were studied, validated and prioritized. The site was never in question. It was in a prime location on campus. A complex renovation, the team surgically “cut out” parts of the existing structure that were beyond their useful life, and connected new elements which were most appropriate in scale, materials, and shape for the program functions. A comfortable “living room” for students to meet, relax, study and socialize, the University Center has been transformed into an architectural centerpiece to enliven the nearby quad and showcase the student life of FSU. It is the place to “see and be seen” and a hub for student life. The Center now provides a dynamic, student-centered facility that kindles learning opportunities and collaboration between students, faculty, and community. Organized along an internal “street” which flows from the campus ‘front door’ past the event rooms, gallery, and marketplace dining, the main street graciously steps down toward the center of campus to wrap along the quad in a dramatic double-height student lounge space. The transparency of the elevation into the quad-level lounge captivates the campus community as it displays student life 24/7. The new additions to the north and west seamlessly link many of the facility’s most important features and functions.