Arc of Interaction
Joseph A. Steger Student Life Center Moore Ruble Yudell / GlaserWorks
Over the last two decades the University of Cincinnati has created a campus renowned for its internationally recognized architecture and planning.
Introduction by Ron Kull
Essay by Steve Litt
Primary photography by Alan Karchmer
Over the last two decades the University of Cincinnati has created a campus renowned for its internationally recognized architecture and planning. The campus now boasts one of the most extensive collections of contemporary architecture anywhere in the country. One of most compelling contributions to this program is Moore Ruble Yudell’s Joseph A. Steger Student Life Center.
Conceived as part of the university’s Main Street Project, the building joins buildings designed by the internationally renowned firms of Morphosis and Gwathmey Siegel to frame a major campus pedestrian spine and a plaza designed by landscape architect George Hargreaves. In an especially brilliant stroke, all three structures overlook the university’s Nippert Stadium.
Surgically inserted into the campus fabric, the Joseph A. Steger Student Life Center plays multiple roles as an eye-catching landmark, a backdrop to the spaces around it and as a frame for vistas that provide clear pathways through a dense urban campus. A complex structure, it curves nearly six hundred feet in length and fifty-five feet of vertical, creating a long, thin envelope treated as a penetrable ribbon-like form. The dense mix of academic, social and retail programs inside the building, which includes an art gallery, retail store, coffee shop and student government offices, are inseparable from the surrounding campus spaces.
By blurring the distinction between interior and exterior, architecture and landscape, the building provides a new model for buildings on other campuses nationwide.