A major renovation project at the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College is earning praise from design experts.
The design for the first two phases in the renovation of Muntz Hall, which covered the entire third floor of the three-story building, was recently recognized at the 2019 Cincinnati Design Awards. The project received an Honor Award for interior architecture, the top award for the category. A total of 27 projects earned recognition at the 2019 CDA’s; only nine received Honor Awards. Find more details at the Cincinnati Design Awards website.
In recognizing the UC Blue Ash project, the judges noted that they appreciated the process (surveys and utilization study) and the result. They also liked the student social spaces and the revitalization of the academic and office spaces.
Muntz Hall was the original building on the UC Blue Ash campus when the college was founded in 1967. It was expanded in 1974 but has not been updated in any significant way since then.
“The first phases of investment and modernization continues the plan to holistically create new learning, collaboration, and related faculty support spaces that ensure UC Blue Ash has the appropriate resources to support forward-looking pedagogies and great student outcomes,” says John K. Seibert, interim associate vice president of UC’s Planning, Design and Construction. “The continued vision to give faculty the tools for teaching and guiding students in modernized space is just part of that commitment.”
The first two phases of the renovation project completely repurposed the existing space on the third floor to create 17 new classrooms, 45 faculty offices, 6 conference rooms and several new spaces where students can study or relax while charging their phone or laptop.
The new spaces for students include a unique bench design that impressed the judges, as well as brightly colored chairs with small desktops, moveable tables and charging stations. The classrooms are also modern and feature plenty of natural light, bringing a completely new look and feel to the 52-year-old building.
UC’s Planning, Design and Construction is overseeing the renovation project and Emersion Design is leading the design work. Phase three of the project is under construction; it focuses on similar updates to the second floor of Muntz Hall. That phase is scheduled to be complete by the summer. If all funding is approved, the project will include six phases with work being completed over a four-to-five-year period to accommodate continued occupancy and use of the building.