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Columbus Learning Center
Columbus, Ind.
Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC

Low-slung design helps shorten the psychological distance among three schools

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Photo © Woodruff Brown

The Columbus Indiana Learning Center is a 123,000-square-foot community resource center and expansion space for three educational institutions: Indiana University/Purdue University Columbus, Purdue School of Technology Columbus, and Ivy Tech State College Columbus. The building serves the education and workforce needs of the community by providing services and teaching rooms for lifelong learning, from grammar school to adult continuing education.

The Learning Center's horizontality, which bears a resemblance to Eero Saarinen's design aesthetic, serves a practical function: the new facility is sited between the existing institutions and its low-slung massing helps reduce their physical and psychological distance between the schools. Combined, the buildings now form a college campus centered on a landscaped green.

A glass-enclosed "street" links the lobby to all services within the facility. Wired lounges interspersed along this passage allow for spontaneous interactions among students and community members. Major destination points at both ends encourage movement down the length of the building, from the auditorium and dining area at the south end, to the Center for Teaching and Learning at the north. A ramp and stair suspended within the corridor lead to classrooms and computer teaching laboratories. The architect located these spaces on a single level to allow for future reconfiguration. A raised-floor system, with the entire floor plate being a plenum, adds further flexibility to the design.


Formal name of project:
Columbus Indiana Learning Center

Columbus, Ind.

Gross square footage:
123,000 sq. ft.

Total Construction Cost:
$26.9 million

Community Education Coalition/City of Columbus

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC
111 West 57th St.
New York, NY 10019
212-977-6500 tel.
212-956-2526 fax


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