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F&M College Visual Arts Center

Lancaster, PA

This new three-story building on the south side of the Franklin & Marshall campus houses the departments of Art and Art History. Spaces include studios, an area for large-scale stone and metal sculpting, film labs, and an 84-seat cinema-screening auditorium.

The raised superstructure features concave inflections that take their shape from the old growth trees on the building’s site. The superstructure is constructed of light braced frame and moment frame hybrid elements, dubbed truss-frames, which are concealed within interior partition walls. Supported on interior concrete cores, these truss-frames cantilever from concrete walls situated at the perimeter of the ground floor, allowing the interior to be entirely column free and producing a kite-like, floating effect for the upper levels.

A glass-enclosed central forum provides views of the park and a new reflecting pool that doubled as campus stormwater overflow. The building has a LEED Gold certification goal.

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