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SHW Group awarded for design of Lansing Community College’s University Center and renovation of existing Carnegie Library

The educational architecture firm received a 2009 Honor Award in the 34th annual Masonry Honor Awards Program, hosted by the Masonry Institute of Michigan and the American Institute of Architects’ Michigan Chapter

DETROIT, April 7, 200shwlogo-h-stnd-gg-cmyk9 – SHW Group, one of the nation’s top education architectural design and engineering firms, has received the 2009 Honor Award in the 34th annual Masonry Honor Awards Program, hosted by the Masonry Institute of Michigan (MIM) and the American Institute of Architects’ Michigan Chapter (AIA Michigan), for its design of the University Center at Lansing Community College (LCC), located in Lansing, Michigan. To encourage and recognize excellence in masonry design, the annual Masonry Honor Awards Program honors works of distinction and brings public attention to outstanding buildings and projects designed by members of AIA Michigan.

The project involved renovating an existing 15,000-square-foot historic Carnegie library (built in 1898 and endowed to the school) and gracefully connecting it to a 23,000-square-foot new addition, creating the new University Center, a facility designed to expand access to advanced degrees through a partnership between LCC and a select group of four-year institutions. Located on LCC’s prominent urban campus just two blocks from the Michigan State Capitol and serving as the gateway to the campus, the Center has become a one-stop shop for student services and other university’s recruiting departments. At the heart of the new facility is a transfer center surrounded by office space for University partners, state-of-the-art classrooms, and student commons for collaboration and integration into LCC’s main campus.

“The Carnegie library is unregistered and consideration was given to demolition, but we chose to restore it using the U.S. Department of Interiors Rehabilitation Standards,” said Janice Suchan, principal at SHW Group. “Though it is not registered with the National Historical Record, we used the proper procedures as if it were.  On this topic, this building represents the marriage of older architecture with modern architecture, which will continue throughout the expanding campus.”

The new University Center is composed of a variety of masonry products including two types of brick, limestone, sandstone, cast stone, concrete masonry unit (CMU), and glass block. The Center is also unique in that it has seven different types of mortar colors and blends. SHW Group chose cast stone in the entry for its aesthetic qualities and affordable price point in addition to resembling the existing Carnegie library accent banding and massive limestone columns.

The existing Carnegie library had a heavy stone base, typical of classical building, so SHW reversed this traditional diagram for the new building by using glass block as its base. The glass block was chosen for its light-emitting aesthetic quality and energy efficient properties, while the random patterning in the glass block replicates Michigan’s native birch trees. White, split-faced CMU was used on the west, less prominent elevation, to provide a durable, long-lasting enclosure at an affordable cost.  The result is a distinctive structure whose exterior shell is aesthetically pleasing, durable and energy efficient. Elevating the brick form reinforces its mass to create tension between the “floating box” and the ground. The use of glass block at level one reinforces this and gives the impression that the brick mass is hovering. Finally, copper accents that resemble those used on the nearby State Capitol Building were used to give the Center a modern feel.

In addition to Berkley, Michigan-based SHW Group serving as the architect, Lansing, Michigan-based Granger Construction Company served as the general contractor.

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Media Contact: Claire Bloxom, 214-329-9191