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Western Michigan University School of Art Richmond Center for Visual Arts

Project Name

Western Michigan University School of Art Richmond Center for Visual Arts


1903 W Michigan Ave


Project Status


Year Completed



45,000 sq. feet

Construction Cost



Western Michigan University


  • Construction Manager: CSM Group

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Project Description

The Richmond Center for Visual Arts (RCVA) was the first step in a two phased project to create a unified home for the School of Art at the University. The School of Art is one of four departments within the College of Fine Arts. The Schools of Music, Dance and Theater were housed in facilities in and around the area where the RCVA now sits. The School of Art was dispersed in five facilities across the campus. The key to the RCVA is its location, bringing the School of Art into one identifiable location. The new facility completes the planned “Arts Village” as envisioned by the College of Fine Arts.

The Richmond Center is the new “front door” for the School of Art on the campus. Phase 1 was comprised of 17,000 gsf of galleries, support areas, classrooms, catering support, reception areas and a student lounge. Phase 2 was a separately funded, 11,000 gsf project that included the renovation of the south wing of Kohrman Hall, as well as the build-out of shelled areas within the RCVA.

The RCVA project physically connects to Kohrman South via an enclosed glass walkway, connecting all of the arts programs into one convenient location on campus. Art programs include the Dalton Center for dance and musical performances and the Miller Garage and Auditorium Complex for dramatic performances.

The design intent was to have layered views throughout the building. Clad with windows in the front, passerby would be drawn into the building with art in plain view. Likewise, within the building the ceilings span 40 ft. high and multiple levels are overlapping the lobby offering a transparent view from many angles throughout the multi-level facility. In the lobby, tall white walls are set in place for the students to display video art. The art is meant to be seen from both the sidewalks outside and multiple levels inside.
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