Workshop Architects, consultants for the Michigan Union Renovation project kicking off in spring 2018, recently earned the Environmental Design Research Association’s (EDRA) Certificate of Research Excellence (CORE) for its social research effort, Campus Capital Framework: Mapping Meaning to Inform the Michigan Union Renovation.
The EDRA CORE program recognizes and celebrates exceptional environmental design research as applied to design projects. Under this program, Certificates of Research Excellence are issued to rigorous and impactful practice-based design research that sparks innovation and promotes best practice in environmental design.
When the University of Michigan Regents recently approved schematic designs for the $85.2 million renovation to the Michigan Union, one focus was on their minds -- students. Which is entirely fitting as the iconic Union -- a centerpiece of U-M campus activity since its construction in 1919 -- was initiated and its growth has been driven by students since its inception. Workshop’s design helped optimize that goal.
The Campus Capital Framework project, an online, participatory mapping survey that assessed the significance that students attribute to the Michigan Union and other important places on campus, measured student perceptions of the university’s physical campus in terms of places that help generate four forms of capital: (1) social, (2) intellectual, (3) symbolic, and (4) restorative. Results showed that the Michigan Union not only ranks among the most significant places on campus, but is also the only place that ranked among the top settings for each form of capital. These findings provided administrators and designers with a baseline measure of place meaning on campus for the Michigan Union and future campus planning projects, and a basis for future post-occupancy evaluation.
Workshop’s Brian Schermer, AIA (PhD ’02), served as principal investigator. Co-recipients of the award include Workshop's Jan van den Kieboom, AIA, Peter van den Kieboom AIA, Nick Robinson, AIA, and Sweta Meier, AIA.
The renovated Union is expected to be completed in winter 2020. Among the improvements to the 250,000-square-foot landmark will be greater accessibility and inclusiveness for all individuals and enhanced social space. A state-of-the-art student organizational space featuring an IdeaHub as well as well as an enclosed courtyard for year-round use will also be included.
Groundbreaking on the project is anticipated in spring 2018.
For more information, please visit uunions.umich.edu. For more information about EDRA, see www.edra.org