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Kent State University’s Center for the Visual Arts, Kent, Ohio

Photo: Daniel Morgan, Straight Shooter, courtesy of Payto Architects
Photo: Daniel Morgan, Straight Shooter, courtesy of Payto Architects

Kent State University’s Center for the Visual Arts was created by renovating and connecting two existing masonry buildings with a new metal-clad structure.

The Art Annex, a masonry building and former heating plant, was converted into studios for ceramics, glass blowing, printmaking and sculpture. The former Art Annex was connected to the masonry-clad Van Deusen Hall, which was converted into administration space, classrooms and studios for art education, drawing and painting. Payto Architects Inc. specified metal panels as a unifying element for the buildings.

Gerald Payto, AIA, principal at Payto Architects, says, “One of the project goals was to tie two very different buildings together with unifying elements. Utilizing corrugated metal helped create a scale that related to the existing masonry while standing out as an architectural element on its own.”

Payto Architects used metal to break up the 127,900-square-foot project into smaller pieces. “The complex is twice the length of a football field, so there’s no way you can perceive the building in one moment,” Payto says. “It’s more of a sequence of events and experiences, almost like a city block.”

Payto Architects used five profiles of metal panels in its design. “The balance of vertical, horizontal and diagonal ribs helped tie the whole complex together as one building.”

Metal worked well for the project because it is lightweight, economical and adds a contemporary feel to the facility. Additionally, Payto says its use in various applications contributed to the design’s cohesiveness. “Metal is used as a unifying element, which we interpreted three different ways based on scale and texture, ranging from polished, composite-level paneling on the western façade to thinner, ribbed horizontal siding on the north, and then very large, 12-inch ribbed paneling on the eastern side.”

VIP Restoration Inc. installed 10,200 square feet of CENTRIA’s 22-gauge Profile Series Metal Panels in Fasion Gray 9919. The five profiles that were used are BR5-36, MR3-36, CS-200, CS-260 and IW-10A.

Kent State University’s School of Art, which occupies the Center for the Visual Arts, includes spaces for art education, art history and foundations, ceramics, drawing, glasswork, jewelry/metals, painting, photography, print media and sculpture. The renovation and expansion project brought the functions under one roof. The $33 million project was completed in March 2016.