ThinkForm Architects developed this conceptual design as a response to Kean University’s request for designers’ vision of a mixed-use facility that would be the north gateway of the campus. The hierarchy of Kean University Main Campus is currently defined by its perimeter, how one arrives (train, bus, or car), the landscape, and the “signature campus facilities.” While other elements exist, we view these elements as the framework and the character defining elements. The proposed Gateway Building is meant to absolutely define the northern perimeter of the main campus.
ThinkForm proposed a five-story building that prominently features an elliptical atrium clad in glass that symbolically and literally becomes a light of learning. The ellipse was chosen because it is a geometry that has two center points creating a unified figure – not unlike the individual transitioning from primary education to the enlightenment that higher education offers. The architecture allows for elements of the program to define space and form while maintaining a unified whole through its materiality. The exterior is defined by stone, glass, and copper clad wall and roof elements. Roof terraces allow for the recapturing of exterior space and can be accessed from common areas throughout the building. The north edge of the site is defined by green space, hardscape, and water features that mediate between the nearby train station stop and the campus edge.