University Center at USI captures national design award


Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture and the University of Southern Indiana’s University Center expansion was one of seven college unions to receive the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) Facility Design Award of Excellence.

“The goal of the University Center expansion project was to create ‘a campus landmark’ that both serves students well, and is a built testament to the essence of high-quality-design, fosters new ways of thinking about buildings and the campus, and grounds the university firmly in its regional origins as it moves onto the national stage”, said Mark Rozewski, USI vice president for Finance and Administration. “I’m pleased USI won this national recognition, but even more pleased with our new university center. The center is a built reminder to be open to new ways of thinking, and that’s a message that every university should pass onto the next generation.”

“The award recognizes the challenges of transforming two existing, inadequate facilities into a memorable destination that now provides students and community residents with flexible gathering places,” said Katherine Holt, marketing manager for Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture.

A feature in the expansion is the Orr Iron Company doorway, an historic artifact incorporated into the main lounge of the University Center. The Orr Iron Company was the family business of Governor Robert Orr, the Evansville native who went on to become governor of Indiana and signed the law creating the state university known as USI. When the original home of Orr Iron had to be demolished for a highway widening project, USI reclaimed the original doorway and repurposed it in the University center expansion.

Another favorite topic of University Center conversation is the conical tower that is the centerpiece of the project and the highlight of the campus skyline. Meant to stand out to visitors as an orienting feature of the campus, the cone is becoming a regional landmark.

Various industrial materials throughout the building show USI’s pride of place in Indiana. Benches were made from 2,000 lb solid ingots of aluminum from the nearby Alcoa Warrick Foundries.

Columns throughout the University Center are covered with clay pipe from CanClay Tile of Cannelton, Indiana, a major manufacturer of drainage pipe.

And to commemorate southern Indiana’s long time history of furniture manufacturing, 2,000 chair legs from the Jasper Chair Company were used to fashion light fixtures in the building.

The University Center expansion opened in 2011.

Other university unions recognized for design included University of Texas-Austin, Clarkson University, The Ohio State University, Brown-Lupton University, Northern Arizona University, and Chapman University.

ACUI is a nonprofit educational organization that brings together college union and student activities professionals from hundreds of schools in seven countries.



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