• WSU: Ulrich Museum of Art & College of Fine Arts

    Museum Website

    College of Fine Arts Website


    Wichita State University

    Wichita, Kansas

    Role: Conceptual Design and Programming for Renovated and Expanded Museum of Art and School of Fine Arts

    Program: New public gathering spaces, events areas, art galleries, cafe, classrooms, auditorium, gift shop, collections storage, function spaces, support areas and offices

    Building Area: Ulrich Museum of Art: 25,500 sf, College of Fine Arts: 93,400 sf, Shared Spaces: 17, 200 sf, Total Gross Area: 136,100 sf

    Status: Concept design and programming completed in 2014, awaiting University funding

    Description: In 2014, WSU hired VernerJohnson to analyze their existing Art Museum and School of Fine Arts and to provide a conceptual vision for consolidating and improving their facilities. The Ulrich Museum of Art and McKnight Art Center were built in the 1970’s and located adjacent to each other across a campus street. The street has since been closed to vehicular traffic and the two buildings are linked by the original glass-enclosed bridges. Although most of the College of Fine Arts classroom and support facilities are located in the McKnight Art Center, they also have ceramics/3D studios and print facilities in older structures in nearby buildings. As the University’s art programs have developed and expanded over that years, their existing facilities have become cramped and outdated.

    VernerJohnson’s conceptual design combines all of these facilities into one state-of-the-art complex. The Ulrich and McKnight buildings are to be completely renovated and improved internally. A new multi-level hub structure is to be added that connects these two buildings, providing common entrances, gathering facilities and function spaces. The ceramics/3D studios is to be relocated into new space linked to the new central hub. The printing facilities will also be ungraded and connected to the new hub.

    By connecting all of these Fine Arts teaching and museum functions into one expanded structure, new synergies and relationships between students, faculty and the public will be encouraged to flourish. Our proposed building design is integrated into the campus’ long-term  master plan, connecting the entry points and gathering places to the new campus pedestrian pathways. Architecturally, this combined building will be more dynamic and engaging. The existing red brick of the current buildings are juxtaposed with multi-colored iridescent stainless steel cladding for the new additions and central hub structure. The overall effect will be a complete transformation of the Fine Arts College and Museum that will become a draw to prospective students nationwide.

    Art Museums | Conceptual | Recent | Revitalizations