Workshop Principal & Founder To Be Keynote Speaker for AIA IL Green Symposium

Workshop Principal and Founder, Jan van den Kieboom, will be the keynote speaker for the AIA Illinois Prairie Chapter’s 15th Annual Green Symposium for Central Illinois. He will speak at the University of Illinois Springfield’s brand new student union designed by Workshop Architects and Dewberry. At this growing campus, its first student union aligns with the university’s commitment to sustainability, featuring a green roof and rainwater reclamation system, and seeking LEED Gold certification. Workshop is excited that UIS has graciously opened their space for this summit; it’s an ideal backdrop for dynamic conversations around environmental and social sustainability.

Register for the event at the AIA Illinois site. Read more about the project here.

An overview of Jan’s keynote presentation:

Social Fitness: A Design Driver for Architecture and Interior Design

A socially fit place is one that strengthens healthy relationships and promotes a sense of equity, inclusion, and belonging. How does one design a place to be socially fit?  The answer has two parts. The first has to do with the process by which design decisions are made. The process must be one of “inclusive placemaking.” It must reach out to as broad a constituency of building users as possible, including those who often feel marginalized or are simply unlikely to attend focus groups or planning workshops. The second part has to do with the actual design of space. Architectural space must be “thick” and “sticky.” It has to have the right mix of "magnets" that draw people in, "anchors" that entice them to stay, and "triangulators" that encourage them to meet others who are outside of their typical circle of acquaintances.

Jan van den Kieboom, principal and founder of Workshop Architects, will share the firm’s approach in creating vibrant, socially fit places. This approach is essential for creating any type of setting, including collaborative workplaces, university facilities, or public squares, for which nurturing a sense of community is essential.


Florida State Celebrates 'Last Call Before the Wrecking Ball'

Students, faculty, and community members alike gathered at Florida State University's Oglesby Union for one last week of events before the building closed for its future demolition, making way for a brand new, state-of-the-art facility (pictured below). For more information on the new union, you can visit our project page or Florida State's FAQ page.

Celebrating Oglesby Union's storied history and significance to the university, events included live music at Club Downunder, games and food trucks at Union Green, and the last Market Wednesday at the current Oglesby Union. Market Wednesday, a weekly gathering of students, artisans, vendors, Greek life, and other student organizations, and a favorite tradition on campus, is a highlight of the Union Courtyard, and was incorporated into our design for the new union. Pictured right is a Market Wednesday from 2017, during one of our design team's campus visits, where we gathered input from students and staff and conducted participatory design workshops. 

Read more about students' experience at Last Call Before the Wrecking Ball from the Tallahassee Democrat, here.

Brian Schermer, PhD., Talks Trends In Student Centers With Higher Ed Live

“What are the hot trends and issues in Student Centers today? How do you best blend technology, aesthetics, amenities, and a sense of institutional pride into community spaces that cater to the needs of modern-day students? How can intentional student center design lead to better learning and engagement on campus? What are the biggest challenges facing student center professionals today?”

These are the main questions discussed by the panelists in Higher Ed Live’s Trends in Student Centers webcast on Student Affairs Live. Host Tony Doody of Rutgers University welcomes Brian Schermer, Ph.D., of Workshop Architects and University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Debra Hammond, of California State University, Northridge, Corbin Smyth, of University of Minnesota Duluth, Laurie Woodward, of University of Oregon, and Eve Esch, of University of Houston, to discuss the ever-evolving role of the Student Center in contemporary higher education. The topics include intersectional identities of students; social justice and space needs; co-location of student unions and other facilities, e.g. libraries, recreation; justifying building improvements with student recruitment and retention outcomes; and cultural centers in student unions versus standalone facilities. 

Click here to view the webcast on Higher Ed Live's website. 

MIAD/Workshop Collab For Furniture Design Studio Based Around Carthage Tower

Workshop is currently collaborating with the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) in the teaching of a site-specific furniture design studio based around The Tower at Carthage College. Taught by Brent Budsberg, with funding from the Chipstone Foundation, the studio will challenge students to design for specific function, using mass customization to accommodate various interest and uses. The students must acknowledge the aesthetic language by aligning or reacting to our design philosophy. So far the conversations have been insightful, uncovering new ways to integrate technology with furniture, while pushing our understanding of conventional joinery methods. 

Notre Dame's Duncan Student Center Grand Opening

"The Duncan Student Center is the physical embodiment of the integration we hope our students will explore as they pursue their interests, cultivate their well-being, and discern their futures." - Erin Hoffman Harding, Vice President for Student Affairs, Notre Dame

Students returned to the University of Notre Dame campus for a new semester as well as an entirely new student life experience. As classes began, the Duncan Student Center opened its doors to the entire campus community for the first time. In the first few hours, students trickled in and could be seen scoping out the center's various spaces; including light-filled lounges and intimate nooks, the new coffee house/programming space, new restaurants, new media-focused student organizations, and a new 3-story climbing wall that extends up into the rec center.  Before long, the main thorough-fare and all possible spaces in between were overflowing with students. As the day progressed, everyone seemed to settle into their favorite places, as if the student center had been on campus for years! 

The two main entries of the building are book-ended with an innovation lounge on the south and the coffee house on the north with a spacious gathering space in the middle that includes a warm fireplace.  In its entirety, this blended academic, recreation, and student life facility is a commitment to mind, body, and spirit. At every point of entry, students can find places to refuel, connect, revitalize, engage, and relax. Duncan Student Center is nothing short of inspirational and, at every turn, offers moments of discovery and an experience that is undeniably Notre Dame. 

Select photos courtesy of University of Notre Dame Marketing & Communications

Workshop Wins Georgia Tech Campus Center Ideas Competition

Workshop, in partnership with Gilbane Building Company, Cooper Carry (architects) of Atlanta, and OLIN (landscape architects) of Philadelphia, has won the Georgia Tech Campus Center Ideas Competition. The Workshop team was one of three finalists selected for this multi-disciplinary design-build competition. Our winning proposal conceives of the Campus Center as an experiential path that is punctuated by a series of walks, plazas, richly articulated buildings, spatial experiences, and opportunities for social, creative, intellectual, and restorative engagement. We are delighted and excited to continue working with our partners and the Georgia Tech community in order to advance this incredibly important and fascinating project to its fullest fruition.

Topping Off Marquette's The Commons

October 4th marked the topping off of Marquette University's The Commons! All participants in the project gathered at the site to view the placement of the final beam, blessed by Father Wild, and to eat together in the future dining hall.

This project includes two residence hall towers made up of single and double rooms that are part of a grouping, supporting a neighborhood community feel. The two residential towers are joined at its core by a grand dining hall and shared community spaces complete with fireplace lounges, study areas, multi-purpose spaces, a theater stair, and chapel. The project is anticipated to be completed in time for the Fall 2018 semester. You can read more about the project here.

Dr. Rullman Featured on Higher Ed Live Webcast

Recently, Dr. Loren Rullman, lead strategist at Workshop, was invited to participate in an episode of the Student Affairs Live webcast series, part of the Higher Ed Live network, which brings together the brightest minds in the industry to share knowledge and discuss important issues with each other and with viewers. 

This episode, hosted by Tony Doody, Senior Director of Student Engagement at Rutgers University and co-host of the program, brings Dr. Beth McCuskey, Vice Provost for Student Life at Purdue, and Dr. Tim Davis, Executive Director for Resilience & Leadership Development at the University of Virginia, together with Dr. Rullman to discuss the different ways each manage organizational change and planning. 

The four of them addressed questions such as "What are some common barriers and mistakes made in organizational change and planning efforts? Who is best equipped to lead organizational planning?  Where can we look to internally and externally for assistance and guidance?"

Check out the video (click the graphic) to gain insight from this discussion and learn which of these valuable concepts could be relevant to your organization.

Workshop Designs Interactive Art for 88Nine Radio Milwaukee's 10th Anniversary Block Party

This Summer marks the 10th Anniversary of the founding of 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, our neighbors across the street and our favorite station, who have been doing their best to create a more inclusive and engaged city through music and community stories. To celebrate, the local, commercial-free radio station hosted a block party on the two blocks of Pittsburgh Avenue between our two buildings. We saw this as an opportunity not only to celebrate with and get to know our Milwaukee and Walker's Point neighbors, but also to exercise our ability to inspire interaction between community members. We challenged ourselves to achieve this using interactive sculpture and inflatable architecture, reformulating a concept from one of our architectural designers' Masters thesis.


Carthage College Breaks Ground on New Student Residence

Workshop was pleased to attend the groundbreaking for The Tower residence Hall at Carthage College! This project is the continuation of a master plan we completed for Carthage in 2016, and addresses the need for not only more residential space on campus, but also more interactive space for students to meet, rejuvenate, and socialize. This project is anticipated to be complete by August of 2018. 

Workshop Joins ACUI for Student Union Research Project

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Workshop is proud to partner with the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) on a research project to examine the relationship between student engagement and the various impacts of the college union on students' experience and development. Between ACUI and Workshop's focus and passion on union facilities and programs combined with Workshop's expertise in feedback and data-driven design of student spaces, we anticipate providing deeper insight and data to the research process. We are excited about our continued efforts and partnership with ACUI in deeply analyzing the importance of the university union.

From the ACUI press release, "Initial results are likely to be published in early 2019. It is also anticipated that the study will provide data that can be used in creating toolkits and resources for professionals to apply in practice...

....To guide the investigation, researchers will use the Role of the College Union statement as a framework. Data collection will focus on how the union creates conditions for student learning and success. They will seek information through interview protocols and observation related to:

  • The union’s integration with the educational mission of the institution.
  • How the union’s cultural, educational, social, and recreational programs complement the academic experience.
  • How the union serves as a student-centered organization, valuing participatory decision making.
  • The union’s ability to develop persons as well as intellect.
  • The union’s provision of services and conveniences that meet the daily needs of the campus community.
  • The union’s success in serving as a unifying force that values diversity and honors each individual.
  • How the union fosters a sense of loyalty to the institution."



Workshop Selected for Georgia Tech Design Competition

After a two-phase selection process, Workshop Architects has been named as one of three finalists for the Ideas Competition organized by the Georgia Institute of Technology for the design of its new Campus Center. Workshop is teamed with the Atlanta offices of Gilbane and Cooper Carry for this design-build project. Workshop completed the strategic visioning study for Campus Center in 2015. As past partners of Georgia Tech, we could not be more thrilled to see the Institute advance toward the the goal of creating a new Campus Center. We know that the process has been a long, thoughtful, labor of love from members of the Institute at every level. 

Visit Workshop at ACUI in Philly

Last year, we celebrated our 20th year in practice with all of our friends and partners at ACUI in New Orleans. This year, we are thrilled as always to join the great community we've become part of. Join us at Booth #404 at The Marriott in Downtown Philadelphia Convention Center as we ring in our 21st anniversary with some exciting news! Visit us to find out what's brewing! Read more at and look for our banners!

Workshop Recognized for Research Excellence for Michigan Union Renovation

Workshop Architects earned the Environmental Design Research Association’s 2017 Certificate of Research Excellence for its social research effort, Campus Capital Framework: Mapping Meaning to Inform the Michigan Union Renovation. The EDRA CORE program is devoted to recognizing and celebrating exceptional environmental design research as applied to design projects. Under this program, Certificates of Research Excellence are issued to rigorous and impactful, practice-based design research that sparks innovation and promotes best practice in environmental design.

The Campus Capital Framework is an online, participatory mapping survey that assessed the significance that students attribute to the Michigan Union and other important places on campus. The framework provides a means to measure student perceptions of a university’s physical campus in terms of places that help generate four forms of capital: (1) social, (2) intellectual, (3) symbolic, and (4) restorative. Results showed that the Michigan Union not only ranks among the most significant places on campus, but is also the only place that ranked among the top settings for each form of capital. These findings provided administrators and designers with a baseline measure of place meaning on campus for the Michigan Union and future campus planning projects, and a basis for future post-occupancy evaluation.

Workshop’s Brian Schermer, PhD, AIA served as principal investigator. Co-recipients of the award include Workshop's Jan van den Kieboom, AIA, Peter van den Kieboom AIA, Nick Robinson, AIA, and Sweta Meier, AIA. All recipients of CORE awards will be recognized at the EDRA48Madison conference, May 31-June 3

EDRA is a collaborative, multidisciplinary community dedicated to connecting theory, research, teaching, and practice to recognize, create and advocate for environments that are responsive to diverse human needs. Read the article for more information about the award and the organization.

Workshop's Big Week at Florida State

This week, Florida State kicked off their Oglesby Union Renovation Project. Members of the Workshop design team, in collaboration with Architects: Lewis + Whitlock, spent the week on campus engaging with the FSU community, gathering input from students and staff, and conducting participatory design workshops. The master planning process will continue with a second campus visit in mid-February.

Workshop Hosts Historic Milwaukee Lecture Series

Workshop Architects hosted two lectures on behalf of Historic Milwaukee, Inc., a non-profit preservation advocacy organization "dedicated to increasing awareness of, and commitment to, Milwaukee’s history, architecture, and the preservation of our built environment" (Historic Milwaukee's About page). 

As part of a training program for volunteer history tour guides, Historic Milwaukee, Inc. held lectures in the Workshop Studio in Walker's Point. The first was held on September 26th and featured Milwaukee's most credited local historian, John Gurda. The second, on October 5th, featured Chris Szczesny-Adams, Professor in Art History at MIAD, who's scholarly focus is nineteenth and twentieth century architecture, art, and material culture. 

NIU Moves Forward With Holmes Renovation

Holmes Student Center at Northern Illinois University will undergo a major renovation and addition, the first phase of which - renovation of the first floor - has been approved by the Illinois Board of Education. Workshop provided planning, programming, and conceptual design services for NIU's Master Plan, focusing on revitalizing Holmes Student Center to once again be the center of student life on campus. Read more about the project from NIU's student-produced media outlet, Northern Star, and read about Workshop's Master Plan for NIU here

U of M Regents Vote to Move Forward on Michigan Union

The University of Michigan Board of Regents voted on Thursday to move forward with an extensive renovation of the iconic Michigan Union, the third oldest college union in the United States. Read more about the project at UMich''s The University Record here.