The Living Learning Center located at Washburn University in Topeka,
Kansas used Bayer Stone for the limestone veneer on its 118,000 sq. ft student facility.
Treanor Architects with offices in Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City Missouri and Frisco,
Texas took on this 15 million dollar project designed so that students and faculty can
reside in one location. Nadia Zhiri was the principal and main designer, and Steven
Blanchard, Jr. AlA is the Project Manager.
Blanchard says the main goal is to increase student population by offering added
activities and closer interaction with students. The new expansion is attached to an
existing building and incorporated Cottonwood Limestone to fit in with the campus. The
center consists of three connected buildings. A residence hall with 400 beds and laundry
facilities, a commons area and a new design concept food court with seating for 250,
offering mill style and a variety of home style cooking makes the transition from a
non-traditional campus to a traditional one. The buildings are linked by bridges and
walkways so the students never have to go outside and provide added safety.
From the conceptual idea, the architects took photographs of the campus before many of
the buildings were destroyed by a tornado in 1966. The tower design, roof pitches and
prairie styling, arches and banding are all a part of the current look utilizing split
One challenge Blanchard says was that five inch stone depth was used for base courses,
with a four inch depth at the top to accommodate the weight system of the veneer.
Throughout the structure there are a tremendous number of specialty hand cut pieces
that give a rich feel and distinguished look. "The relationship with Bayer Stone over
these many years has been very successful," Blanchard said. "We work well,
especially with Carroll (Carley) (Project Manager, responsible for projects beginning with
shop drawings). It's been great from a scheduling standpoint. " The project started
April of 2000 and will be completed mid summer 2001.