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Carleton College Weitz Center for Creativity

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    • the center of activity for this new collaborative arts center, the commons serves as a gathering place for students, faculty, and staff
    • Overview

      “Carleton College’s new Weitz Center for Creativity redefines cross-training, inviting every academic discipline to interact with the arts. . . . The building provides key work, performance, and teaching space, and it connects them with gathering areas where inspiration can spark.”
      —Amy Goetzman, Architecture Minnesota

      The Weitz Center serves as a working laboratory for creativity—not only in the arts, but across the entire curriculum. It positions the College as a national leader in arts programs by creating an environment that fosters creativity, critical thinking, collaborative working skills, and cross-cultural exploration. An adaptive reuse and expansion of a former middle school complex, the center houses the departments of studio arts, dance and theater, and cinema and media studies. It incorporates classrooms, studios, a teaching museum, performance spaces, and state-of-the-art collaborative spaces.

    • facing campus, a new 25,000 square foot expansion to the former middle school complex serves as the main entry
    • the entry commons provides a visual link between the campus to the north and the adjacent park and surrounding residential neighborhood
    • the commons includes a central elevator core clad in wood salvaged from the former middle school’s bleacher seats
    • new ramps, stairs, and elevators connect the 11 disparate levels of the three existing middle school buildings, which were built in 1910, 1936, and 1954
    • the center incorporates a variety of exhibition and performance spaces; a teaching museum is located adjacent to the main entry
    • located within the 1954 building in the former gymnasium space, the black box theater includes moveable seats that can be reconfigured
    • the center houses two large dance studios, including one with moveable bleacher seating to accommodate performances
    • a 250-seat cinema, located within the 1934 building, has been brought up to date with state-of-the-art technology
    • teaching spaces range from more traditional classrooms, studios, and critique spaces (shown here) to the state-of-the-art
    • the state-of-the-art “Sandbox” classroom provides a collaborative learning environment with interactive technology
    • other high-tech teaching spaces include a graphics lab (shown here), A/V editing studios, and the “Idea Lab” technology resource center
    • linking the 1910 and 1954 buildings, the new expansion forms a courtyard that will be used as social/gathering and performance space
    • Specifications

      Location: Northfield, Minnesota

      Type: Adaptive reuse and expansion

      Size: 104,000 square feet (adaptive reuse); 25,000 square feet (expansion)

      Sustainable design: LEED Gold certified

    • Awards

      AIA Minnesota Honor Award.

      Preservation Alliance of Minnesota Preservation Award.

    • Project Contact

      Thomas Meyer

      • Architect / Principal
      • thomas@msrdesign.com
      • 612 359 3222
      • View Bio