the garret

What’s top of mind at KSQ

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Creating a home for LGBTQ at Stony Brook University.

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Our team recently had the opportunity to present our latest project for Stony Brook University at the annual ACPA conference held in Houston March 11-14. Not only did we showcase the story of the new LGBTQ* Center on the SBU campus, we were joined by Dr. Robert Schoenberg, the recently retired director of the Penn LGBT Center at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the very first centers like this in the nation.

From left: Dr. Robert Schoenberg, U Penn (retired); Armand and Monica; Dallas Bauman, SBU; Tom Hier, Biddison Hier

The presentation also covered the history of LGBTQ Centers on university campuses. An interesting fact is that only six percent of colleges and universities currently have an LGBTQ center on their campus, adding up to approximately 246 such centers in all. We gave attendees some critical factors to consider if they are planning one for their campus:

Keys to Creating an LGBTQ Center on Your Campus:

  1. Consider your campus context: is it more liberal or conservative? Limited or accessible funding?
  2. Can you identify a campus champion? Finding and empowering the right person is key to gaining momentum.
  3. Do you understand the planning process? Talking with architects or other institutions who have launched successful centers will give your team an idea of what to expect.
  4. What are your cultural goals? What culture do you want to create? Stating your mission, vision and values is key to helping guide the process.
  5. What are your programmatic goals? What types of activity do you envision for the space?
  6. Can you enlist outside experts? Hiring a planner and/or architect is often needed to bring your vision to reality.

KSQ’s design team created a concept called “the nest” to guide decisions for the Stony Brook space. A feeling of warmth, acceptance, safety and home were some of the guiding principles.

This “nest” concept board created by the interiors team at KSQ helped to set the tone for the new Center.

 

At Stony Brook, a former 2,400 square-foot dining space provides a visible presence and a central location for LGBTQ and other groups to connect with peers, mentors and the services and resources available at SBU. A student lounge, individual and group study, social, lecture and meeting spaces as well as offices and gender-neutral restroom facilities are included in the new space that opened in early March 2018.

Our team was honored to be part of the process of creating a new home for the vibrant LGBTQ community at Stony Brook University. We know how much impact a space can have on creating and fostering community–it’s why we do what we do!

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Student housing gives new life to a 100-year-old building.

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Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT) is known for world-class academic instruction, a nearly 100% career placement rate and their partnerships with both industry and the community. In an effort to improve its campus community–while also supporting the growth of downtown Okmulgee, OK, OSUIT purchased two connecting buildings on the northeast corner of Grand Avenue and Fifth Street in historic downtown Okmulgee. The buildings were transformed by KSQ Design and Sikes Abernathie Architects (SAA) into 11 loft-style and 26 flat-style apartments offered as an off-campus living option for up to 76 students.

KSQ and SAA’s design features high ceilings on the main floor and 11 loft-style living spaces with two bedrooms upstairs and a bathroom, kitchen and living room downstairs. The first level also offers seven loft-style apartments. The design includes light wells cutting into the building to provide natural light for the units and individual bedrooms, an outdoor patio area, a lobby with nooks, community kitchen and laundry, a lounge and an office and living suite for an on-site manager. The design for the second floor features flat-style apartment homes with living rooms, two bedrooms, a bathroom and one unit that has four bedrooms.

Like most renovations, this one presented unique challenges and opportunities for the design team. These “before” photos give you an idea of the state of the building when our team got ahold of it (click “show thumbnails” to advance through the slideshows, below).

The transformation was celebrated during a ribbon cutting and open house–the community was invited to come check out Okmulgee’s new gem for OSUIT students. Elements of the original building’s character are still in place, but the spaces are fresh and relevant for modern-day student living.

A big kudos to Kim, Adriana, our clients at OSU, partners at SAA and Oakridge Builders for a great team effort!

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Classroom Makeover for Math Teacher Adds Up to Success

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Can good design make 8th grade math more exciting? We think it does, and knowing what tough critics middle schoolers can be made this year’s Project Classroom makeover challenge even more fun. One of the most gratifying projects we complete every year, this mini makeover of a public school classroom for a deserving teacher uses all aspects of our project management–from planning and design through construction.

After selecting Ms. Emily Partridge, an 8th grade algebra teacher at East Central Junior High in Tulsa as our 2016 recipient, our team of volunteers met with her in July to learn about how she uses the room, her wish list for the space and color preferences. Here’s what the classroom looked like before we got a hold of it.
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After three months of planning, our team (along with partners Cyntergy AEC and Wallace Engineering) took over the room for the weekend to breathe new life into the equation, so to speak. Our favorite part is the big “reveal” on Monday morning, when Ms. Partridge and her students saw the room for the first time.

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Our approach was a collegiate theme, inspired by Ms. Partridge telling us how she encourages her students to think beyond high school. A chalkboard wall was our solution when she mentioned how much they like writable surfaces.

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We look forward to Project Classroom every year–making a difference for students is why we do what we do at KSQ.

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Addition to elementary school makes an entrance.

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A new addition to an elementary school in South Carolina creates a dramatic entrance for parents and students, centralizes administrative offices and creates much-needed classroom spaces.

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The old stomping grounds: Senior living trend takes us back to campus.

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As (my) Baby Boomer generation inches closer and closer to both retirement and our “golden years” of a senior lifestyle, more and more of this generation are seeking an intellectually stimulating lifestyle where we can engage in multigenerational experiences and events sponsored by our alma mater such as university courses, lectures, art exhibits, music performances as well as football and basketball games. Active seniors often choose to reside in a university-based retirement community that provides the vitality and energy associated with campus life. Who can blame them?

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