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November 22, 2023

LMN-designed educational building debuts in Ohio

Photos by Tim Griffith [enlarge]
LMN incorporated terracotta panels into the building’s façade to complement surrounding campus structures.

Seattle architecture firm LMN is celebrating the recent completion of Clifton Court Hall at the University of Cincinnati. This new interdisciplinary education building co-houses six departments in the College of Arts and Sciences in a modern structure with a distinctive terracotta-paneled facade.

LMN designed the hall in collaboration with Cincinnati architect KZF Design. It was built by Messer Construction. Construction began in 2021. The $93 million building opened to students in September.

Clifton Court Hall is the 185,400-square-foot new home for the College of Arts and Sciences. It houses the departments of Political Science, Communication, Psychology, Journalism, German Studies, and Romance and Arabic Languages and Literatures, which were previously scattered across various campus buildings.

LMN and KZF's design comprises a mix of flexible flat-floor classrooms, seminar rooms, lecture halls, auditoriums, department offices, and student support spaces. The building contains over 1,000 classroom seats. Clifton Court Hall also provides spaces which support non-classroom learning in collaboration, study, specialized lab, and social spaces.

A sculptural red stairway in the building’s five-level atrium connects the interdisciplinary communities housed within.

In addition to serving as the new home for the College of Arts and Sciences, the building provides new social space for the entire UC community via a five-level central atrium with a series of community and collaboration spaces, and adjacent team rooms.

The building program is organized around the atrium which is bathed with daylight from skylights and large north and south facing windows that also make strong visual connections to the surrounding campus. A sculptural red stairway extends three stories diagonally through the atrium, serving as a major campus pathway, and connecting the interdisciplinary communities within the building.

Clifton Court Hall is situated at the western edge of the UC campus, across from an urban neighborhood. LMN said it wanted to design a building that would create a new and compelling arrival to the campus that also linked the College of Arts and Sciences new home to surrounding UC buildings. This was achieved via a series of distinctively proportioned expressive architectural volumes, outfitted with a bright terracotta-panel and glass façade. The terracotta complements the red brick buildings of both the campus and surrounding neighborhood, while the modern glass helps the building stand out and gestures to the innovative academic research and learning taking place within.

The structure's architectural massing steps at the lower levels to mediate a sloping topography and engage adjacent heavily used campus pedestrian pathways and entry points.

In a press release, Mark Reddington, partner at LMN Architects, had this to say of Clifton Court Hall: “The project choreographs a variety of welcoming experiences and takes advantage of the rich program and connections on site to create a center for social engagement on campus. The design of Clifton Court Hall enriches the formal and informal network of social spaces and connects the multidisciplinary thinkers on campus as well as the broader Cincinnati community.”

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