Studio Gang Architects just gave the traditional log cabin a futuristic and eco-friendly facelift with their recently completed Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Clad in timber discs, the Y-shaped building gives off an organic and fluid feel characteristic of Studio Gang's works. The Arcus Center is more than just an institution for social justice—the building also embraces environmental stewardship and is designed to meet LEED Gold standards.
Developed as an initiative of Kalamazoo College, the 10,000-square-foot Arcus Center works to teach, promote, and sustain the pursuit of human rights and social justice within an educational gathering space. To support these goals, Studio Gang designed the day-lit center with a series of open and informal meeting areas and visually opened the building up to the surrounding campus through three large glazed end walls. A sunken communal hearth and open kitchen are located at the center of the tri-axial building to create an inviting living room that unites the three building arms.
The Arcus Center’s modern design and wooden exterior is a marked departure from the campus’ Georgian brick and plantation-style architecture. The facade is made from white cedar logs harvested in north Michigan and laid up crosswise using a natural building method called cordwood masonry, a technique once used by the area’s early homesteaders. According to the NY Times, Ms. Gang estimates that the unprocessed wood walls will sequester “as much carbon a year as 10 cars produce on the highway.”
Images via Studio Gang Architects