Western Michigan University, College of Health and Human Services

Kalamazoo, Michigan

  • FIRM



    Western Michigan University

  • AREA

    196,000 sq.ft.



The College of Health and Human Services will be the first building constructed on the new Oakland Drive Campus of Western Michigan University. Its design develops a strong visual axis. A historic water tower organizes the entry drive, dropoff and primary pedestrian walk, while preserving the site context.

The building will provide academic teaching, research and ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY1,290FEATURED IN2002 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYWork in Progress space for the nine programs and departments of the college. The primary organization consists of two major elements: the “BAR” building, a rectangular component housing classrooms and labs; and the “ARC” building, a curvilinear form carefully conforming to the tree line, containing common student spaces and faculty offices.

Both buildings have been designed from the inside out. Brick, limestone and large expanses of glass curtainwall take advantage of views of wooded areas to the east, especially from the student commons area. The design creates a stimulating, creative environment for learning that also illustrates basic principles of health. Building systems and materials emphasize longevity, maintenance, simplicity and sustainability. The color palette combines neutral and intense colors to provide contrast and accentuate key areas.