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Sound Off: Building design

What keeps the Kansas University School of Architecture, Design & Planning from designing the new School of Business building instead of private firms?

One big reason that the architecture, design and planning school doesn’t design all of KU’s campus buildings is that state law requires university buildings to be designed by licensed architects and engineers, said Charles Linn, a spokesman for the school. “There is a procurement process in place to make sure that the best, most-qualified firms are selected, and that would have to be changed considerably to allow this,” Linn wrote in an email. Another reason is that the kinds of professional firms that KU interviewed and selected for the School of Business building are among the best in the country, Linn wrote, and have a wealth of resources. “They employ hundreds of architects, and some have done hundreds of academic buildings,” he wrote. KU announced last week the firms selected to design the $60 million business-school building were Gensler, which has offices around the world, and local partner Gastinger Walker Harden + Bee Triplett Buck, based in Kansas City, Mo. KU architecture students do sometimes work on real projects, such as in the school’s Studio 804 course, but those are still learning exercises and don’t involve the complexity of a professional project, Linn said. And the SADP does participate in building-related decisions and planning for KU. John Gaunt, the school’s dean, has helped select architects and planners for various university projects, including for the School of Business building and the campus master planning process currently in process.


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