Milstein Hall's Innovative Design

Milstein Hall's 47,000-square-feet weaves its definitively contemporary architecture through the college's historic buildings, creating a dynamic landscape and a vibrant central meeting place that lends itself to collaboration.

Its spaces promote innovative ways of teaching and serve the daily activities of today's studio environment. Physically, Milstein Hall is a connector between a unique site and existing conditions. In form and materiality, it is a building of its own time.

The design includes an elevated second floor that provides flexible contiguous studio space and connections to Sibley and Rand halls. The structure is cantilevered on the north side and southeast corner with the space underneath left open to form a pedestrian plaza that provides outdoor gathering and exhibition space protected from the elements, and a sheltered pedestrian connection to the studios located in The Foundry. The concrete dome in the center provides the incline for the auditorium seating; supports stairs to the second-floor studio space; and creates a ceiling for the critique space below. In the sub-basement underneath the plaza there is an auditorium, exhibition space, and critique area.

The Upper Plate

The upper plate provides a large space for the L. P. Kwee Studios that are conducive to improvisational interaction among the AAP programs. A variety of zones within the upper plate support the college's physical and programmatic vision for innovative and collaborative learning including flexible studio modules, and pin-up and critique spaces.

The Lower Plate

Milstein Hall's lower plate is a cluster of public programmable areas — auditorium, exhibition, and critique spaces — that serve all of AAP in conjunction with the upper plate. Constructed of cast-in-place concrete set into the site, the roof provides a public exterior plaza with a single manipulation that rises to form a bump creating access from the ground to the upper plate, a domed public space, and tiered seating for the auditorium.

Exterior and Finishes

Milstein Hall's materials and finishes are expressive of its construction. The materials in the upper level are predominantly exposed steel and floor-to-ceiling glass facades. The lower level is constructed of exposed concrete. The upper and lower levels create two different material environments expressive of Milstein Hall's structure and form.

Collaborative Environment

An adaptable and open floor plan on the top level provides opportunities to respond to the changing needs of design curriculum. The ground level offers entry to the college's auditorium, which accommodates classes, presentations, and a variety of other meetings. The lower level combines large and small exhibition venues for student and guest displays. Covered outdoor areas give architects, artists, and fabricators virtually boundless studio space, where they can construct large-scale prototypes, models, and sculptures. Walkways and doorways connecting Milstein Hall to Rand and Sibley halls provide the practical advantage of moving through the college's buildings along with promoting a sense of connection across disciplines. The combination of Milstein, Rand, Sibley, Tjaden halls, and The Foundry create a space where the very best teaching and scholarship can occur. 

Sustainabile Design Initiatives

The sustainable design goals for Milstein Hall are met through the use of good design practice to provide a healthy and comfortable environment for the building occupants. Sustainable design initiatives are guided by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. Milstein Hall was awarded LEED Gold Certification in August 2012, receiving 40 out of 69 possible points, and scoring exceptionally well for its "innovation and design" and "water efficiency." The key sustainable design features included in Milstein Hall's design are:

  • Reduce energy use for material production

    • Employ recycled steel and concrete aggregate
    • Employ recycled finish materials where appropriate
    • Design building finishes to reduce building material use
  • Reduce energy usage for transportation

    • Incorporate existing public transportation network
    • Accommodate pedestrian access and bicycle parking
    • Specify locally manufactured materials
  • Reduce energy use for building lighting

    • Employ skylights and glazing for natural day-lighting
    • Specify energy efficient light fixtures
  • Reduce material use and landfill waste

    • Reuse existing buildings
    • Specify contractor sorting and recycling of demolition material
    • Reduce construction material packaging
    • Design a flexible building to increase long-term use and adaptability
  • Reduce water usage

    • Specify native plants to reduce irrigation water usage
    • Provide a temporary irrigation system for the vegetated roof
    • Specify low-flow plumbing fixtures to reduce potable water usage
  • Reduce storm water pollution

    • Employ vegetated roof or storm water retention system to filter storm water
    • Incorporate quantity and quality storm water measures
    • Specify native plants to eliminate pesticide usage
  • Reduce energy usage for building heating and cooling

    • Utilize cogeneration produced steam for building heating and lake-chilled water for building cooling
    • Incorporate energy efficient chilled beams for cooling
    • Employ insulated walls and glazing to reduce building air loss
    • Employ a vegetated roof to reduce solar heat gain and building air loss
    • Incorporate radiant heat into the upper plate concrete floor slab to provide a cleaner and more comfortable heated environment
  • Increase environmental comfort of building occupants

    • Employ radiant slab system and chilled beams
    • Employ day-lighting
    • Specify low volatile organic compounds (VOC)–emitting material
    • Employ outside air system
    • Provide visual and direct connections to natural areas
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