Chico State Arts & Humanities Building / WRNS Studio


© Matthew Milman

© Matthew Milman
  • Architects: WRNS Studio
  • Location: Minard Hall, Fargo, ND 58105, United States
  • Project Team: Bryan Shiles, Brian Milman, Mitch Fine, Pauline Souza, Wulff Piotraschke, John McGill, Doug Hoffelt, Tim Morshead, Claire Axely, Robin Williams, Mette Shenker
  • Area: 93300.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2016
  • Photographs: Matthew Milman
  • Consultants: Interface Engineering, Rutherford & Chekene, Sherwood Design Engineers, Stephen Wheeler Landscape Architects, Charles M. Salter Associates, Shalleck Collaborative, Cummings Construction Management

© Matthew Milman

© Matthew Milman

Text description provided by the architects. This project elevates and makes evident the pursuit of the Arts and Humanities at Chico State. The program offers academic, performance and creative learning spaces for students in the visual and performing arts, English, and foreign language departments. Bringing this wide range of programs together under one roof — art galleries, a recital/dance/recording arts facility, learning labs and offices — offers a venue for interaction and discovery to a generation of students whose lives and careers are increasingly varied and multivalent.


© Matthew Milman

© Matthew Milman

First Level Plan

First Level Plan

© Matthew Milman

© Matthew Milman

The site serves as an important new gateway between the campus and downtown Chico. Connecting the university’s Kendall Lawn and the city’s well-travelled First Street Promenade with a public breezeway, the building draws in both students and the broader community. Flowing under a glassy north wing, the breezeway is flanked by a brick and stucco tower and a solid base, which complements the historic Romanesque structures lining Kendall Lawn. The “ebony” brick avoids mimicry while remaining sympathetic to the campus’ architectural heritage.


© Matthew Milman

© Matthew Milman

With the second- and third-floor learning environments visible through glass walls, The Arts and Humanities Building integrates teaching and arts with campus life. On the sides facing downtown Chico, the building is massed to step back from the street above the first-level brick base and to meet the sky in a robust cornice that announces the building and the University. An inset panel at the brick base carries a commissioned art piece to enhance the pedestrian experience. Energy efficiency strategies include high-performance glazing, a high-albedo roof, demand-based control ventilation, and a dual-duct, dual-fan HVAC system.


© Matthew Milman

© Matthew Milman