Learning Environments
Academic facilities, libraries and media centers shape the learning experience — from fostering greater interaction between faculty and students to optimizing the exchange of ideas across disciplines. GUND is at forefront of thinking regarding today’s academic space needs. Our design approach seeks to bring students more directly into the learning experience as active contributors, innovative thinkers, and engaged collaborators. With today’s generation of students who are accustomed to 24-hour on-demand information, hands-on research and learning, and smaller, collaborative group work, we understand facility and classroom design must respond to their needs and be flexible to accommodate future innovations in pedagogy and research.
IU’s Franklin Hall is the home of the University’s newly created Media School. Its stately, formal exterior gives only a hint of the vibrant learning and collaboration taking place within.
Read more about the Media School at Franklin Hall.
Christine Verbitzki, AIA, LEED AP BD+C and Marissa Desmond, AIA, were key figures at the Franklin Hall renovation. Contact Christine or Marissa for more details.

Columbus Metropolitan Library’s historic Carnegie-funded Main Library has been transformed into a beautiful, renewed landmark that mixes the best of the old and the new. 

The Main Library of the Columbus Metropolitan Library features a sun-washed central space that preserves much of the rear façade of the original library and its Beaux-Arts details, juxtaposed against a modern intervention of the glass curtain wall. Furthermore, the renovation restores the significance of the Front Lawn and creates a physical connection through the library from west to east that opens on to Topiary Park – the result is to create a library-in-a-park. The actual footprint of the library remains the same, but the change is transformational.

David Zenk, AIA, LEED AP BD+C and Christine Verbitzki, AIA, LEED AP BD+C were key figures overseeing the Columbus Metropolitan Library Renovation. Contact David or Christine for more information.


The new Oechsle Center for Global Education at Lafayette College connects the classroom to the outside world and advances research, curriculum and new interdisciplinary activities on global issues.

Developing a broad global curriculum that meets the needs of students graduating into a complex and changing world is a significant academic goal at Lafayette College. Working closely with faculty and College administration, GUND is designing the Oechsle Center for Global Education as a dynamic, collaborative learning environment with international connectivity.

The new 18,400 square-foot building will house the International Affairs Program and the Department of Anthropology and Sociology and will be a key locus of activity for area studies programs and a hub of interdisciplinary interaction. Read more about the Oechsle Center for Global Education at Lafayette College.

Holly Miller, AIA, LEED AP BD+C led the Oechsle Center for Global Education project. Contact Holly for more info.


The Grousbeck Center for Students & Technology at Perkins received a 2013 Accessible Design Honor Award from the Architectural Access Board (AAB) and the Boston Society of Architects (BSA). It was also recognized by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) with a Regional Illumination Award.

As Perkins' first ever social hub for students, the Grousbeck Center combines technology and recreational amenities to facilitate education, vocational training and social skills development. In addition to the student-focused areas, the Grousbeck Center also includes dedicated training facilities for Perkins teachers and visiting educators. GUND's design incorporates a variety of innovative universal design concepts that appeal to all the senses and engage the diverse student body.

The new Grousbeck Center is a vibrant campus hub that encourages innovation, communication and independence, and also expands the school’s teacher training programs and educational outreach.

With universal design concepts at the center of the project’s green design strategies, the Grousbeck Center received LEED Silver certification. Creating healthy environments and providing all users easy and universally accessible control over the building systems was central to GUND’s design approach. Other sustainable design strategies emphasize cost-effective solutions that optimize indoor environmental quality, and reduce energy and potable water usage. Beyond LEED, the school seeks to promote good stewardship of natural resources within the unique context of the school. Read more about the Grousbeck Center for Students & Technology at Perkins.

Christine Verbitzki, AIA, LEED AP BD+C served as project manager for the Grousbeck Center. Contact Christine for more information.

Library Journal recognized the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library at Ohio State University as a national Landmark Library, notable for its exhaustive planning process and attention to detail and student needs.
The William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library is the main library at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. It serves more than 54,000 undergraduate and graduate students. GUND's design strategy united the sprawling library complex and rekindled an admiration of the library by the campus community. The new Thompson Library draws about 12,000 students a day — more than three times the daily gate count than prior to the renovation.
The new west facade is a beacon, marked by a two-story reading room.
The importance of the library to the entire campus community necessitated that the planning and design process be inclusive and comprehensive. GUND led a highly structured process involving university stakeholders, user groups, students, faculty and alumni that helped identify what to restore, transform and add to the existing library. While maintaining a compact building footprint, the innovative design approach reconfigured the library's interior organization and increased its usable area.
The library's interior combines a range of flexible environments that are designed to accommodate ever-evolving research methods, learning styles and library uses.
Maintaining the east-west axis of Ohio State's historic Oval, entrances on the east and west lead to sky-lit atria connected by the glass encased book tower at the center of the building. Highly dynamic environments, the atria introduce natural light and a sense of spaciousness into the library core, and showcase the university's collections. Flexible research and learning environments were designed to accommodate a range of uses, reflecting the evolving role of the library in campus life.

Read more about Thompson Library at Ohio State.

Read the Library Journal article here.
David Zenk, AIA, LEED AP BD+C and Christine Verbitzki, AIA, LEED AP BD+C were project architects for the Thompson Library project and were highly involved in the planning and design process. Contact David or Christine for more information. Acock Associates Architects served as Architect of Record for the project.

Building upon the Westminster School’s values of community and balance, the new Armour Academic Center brings all disciplines under one roof to shape a rich academic experience.

Creating an exceptional academic environment that advanced the school’s educational mission and inspired generations of students and faculty was the central goal of the project. Green design solutions were a priority, and the project achieved LEED Gold certification.

A greenhouse on the south facade reveals the academic programs.

The building is sited on an east-west axis to maximize daylighting. Relating to the adjacent Tudor-style building, the massing of the building is broken into articulated components, which creates courtyards and take full advantage of natural light and views.

The three-story atrium is a dymanic crossroads, linking the Math, Science and Humanities wings and serving as a forecort to the Library.

A central atrium connects the Humanities, Math and Science departments, library, and school administration offices. This energizing space animates the heart of the building by encouraging informal meetings and socialization. It also serves as a place for weekly school assemblies.

Classrooms, labs and library spaces promote hands-on, interactive learning.

Reflecting forward-thinking trends in academic facilities design, classrooms, labs and library spaces promote hands-on, interactive learning, and were designed to be easily adaptable to future changes in teaching methodologies. Two-person tables, rather than desks, were selected for all 36 classrooms because they offer maximum flexibility and can be easily configured for seminars, group work and testing. Each classroom features an interactive white board, A/V system, standard white board, document camera and teacher station. Read more about the Armour Academic Center at Westminster School.

Graham Gund, FAIA, LEED APChristine Verbitzki, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, and Holly Miller, AIA, LEED AP BD+C were key figures in the Armour Academic Center project. Contact GrahamChristine, or Holly for more info.