When Auburn Seminary decided to consolidate its quarters under one roof, they asked us to create a dynamic, mission-aligned environment. Well known for training faith leaders who promote social justice, Auburn wanted a destination space that encourages collaborative, innovative thinking among its staff and students. The new, 11,000 sf seminary, which includes a teaching facility, research areas and administrative spaces, provides just that.
Simplicity of both design and materials puts the emphasis on people and communication. Administrative offices are at one end of the U-shaped space and a large, open leadership training area, the "Design Shop", at the other. The middle bar joining them consists of the program lab with a series of open offices with low glass partitions and a media training room. A wide "boulevard" that begins at the lobby connects the three parts while offering informal meeting space. The "Design Shop" is an open space that can be reconfigured for multiple uses.
While Auburn is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, they requested there be no specific religious imagery or spaces, except for a non-denominational prayer room. Our design suggests spiritual motifs, such as extensive use of natural light which comes in all three sides. Since the space is on the top floor of a building close to the Hudson River, it had extensive views of the waterway.
Phase I, the 4,000 sf ”Design Shop" space and adjacent catering kitchen, opened in September 2015. Phase II will be completed at the end of summer 2016.