Kent State University (KSU) challenged the design team to create replacements for the original 1940s Stopher and Johnson residence halls, which served as a backdrop for the May 4, 1970, fatal shootings on campus. To comply with the wishes of KSU and the May 4 Committee, the design of the new buildings had to follow a set of guidelines. The new Johnson Hall had to CAPACITY400COST PER SQ FT$155.00FEATURED IN2007 Architectural Portfolio the same footprint as the original, flat roof lines, the footprint of the lower-level annex, and the rear facade of Johnson Hall, one backdrop for the shootings.
Kent State also had more traditional requirements: creating a residential feeling, providing community space to build relationships, and creating an environment conducive to a positive first-year experience.
Incorporating all of these needs, the design team infused a high degree of warmth, transparency and interconnection among spaces while maintaining a “residential” feel. The building entries, outdoor public space and indoor social areas are organized around a central social cluster that blurs the distinction between the two buildings. These visual connections and transparencies between buildings foster an environment of interaction that is important for first-year students.