Warren and Donna Beck Academic Hall
Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn.
When Gustavus Adolphus College embarked on its first new academic building in 20 years, it had three goals: to foster excellence in the teaching and learning experience, provide an attractive and beneficial asset to the campus, and promote sensitive stewardship of the environment. Scheduled to open in time for the college’s sesquicentennial celebration, the facility carries the heritage of the Scandinavian Lutheran college in a modern facility expressing honesty, simplicity, and quality.
To create an academic building serving the departments for communication studies, economics and management, history, psychology, and sociology and anthropology with flexible classrooms, state-of-the-art research laboratories, and numerous formal and informal spaces encouraging collaboration and cross-departmental interaction.
Envisioned around the themes of context, connection, commitment, collaboration, and composition, BWBR worked with Gustavus to develop a building that captures elements and details of the surrounding buildings – including Christ Chapel – as well as the regional landscape, including stone quarried in the region. The colors and palettes, together with abundant daylight entering the classrooms, offices, and interior spaces, create a sense of warmth and comfort and establish the building as a center for teaching excellence and learning. The priority for Beck Academic Hall to be added as campus energy neutral led to multiple energy saving strategies and extended the ecological integration of this building to the rest of campus.