The Design Innovation Hub (DI Hub) at Kent State University is a collaborative, “owned by all, shared by all” environment that brings together students, faculty, and experts from diverse disciplines under one roof.
A Former Art Building Gets New Life as a Collaborative Makerspace
An adaptive re-use of the John Andrews-designed, 1970s-era former art building at the center of campus, the DI Hub serves as a focal point for the University-wide innovation ecosystem. The Design Innovation initiative at Kent State maps makerspaces and resource labs – design innovation “nodes” – across its eight campuses. As the central resource for this network, the 78,000 square-foot DI Hub houses a range of labs, makerspaces, tools and technologies to serve every step of the creative process. We worked with local firm Domokur Architects and University stakeholders to carefully choreograph the relationships between labs, makerspaces and open meeting and gallery areas, creating clusters that would foster connections between disciplines. Unique to the collegiate makerspace typology, the DI Hub also houses a significant dining hall – an active campus thoroughfare, comprising much of the third floor, that encourages interaction between visitors and the active design thinking and implementation on display.
As Kent State continues to strengthen the connections between diverse disciplines across its campuses, as well as the broader community, the DI Hub’s high-tech labs and workshops will provide an ideal home for students to interact, research, and test their ideas, whether their academic focus is in art or engineering, computer science or fashion. By stripping the former art building to its original structure and creating a modern and efficient new maker environment, the DI Hub continues a legacy of creativity at this renowned campus site and provides a dynamic space for the next generation of innovators at Kent State.