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Moravec Hall, Ivy Tech Community College Columbus

IwamotoScott Architecture

Columbus, Indiana, United States

October 2022


Lisa Iwamoto (Design Architect, IwamotoScott Founding Partner), Craig Scott (Design Architect, IwamotoScott Founding Partner)


CSO (Architect of Record), JPS Consulting Engineers (Structural Engineers), Ross & Baruzzini (MEP Engineers), GGN (Campus Masterplan), Context Design (Landscape Architecture


Steven Coombs, Chancellor


Bruce Damonte


The design of Moravec Hall is strategically shaped with an economy of means, around a simple diagram, whereby the white brick building mass is articulated by a black metal clad volume rotated in plan – to simultaneously define the sheltered main entrance and create a second level terrace. A skylit, double-height internal street, dubbed the Social Spine, anchors the heart of the building, shaping the main circulation and visually connecting to entry to the Airpark Quad. Along its path are shared and public programs including reception, aviation showcase, gallery, and community room. The spine leads to the student commons, placed along the quad, through which students can easily access the CLC. Animating and connecting the spine to the upper level is a wood clad cascade stair. Small platform study nooks along its length support different forms of study and collaboration, as do booths carved into walls on the second floor.

The spine is daylit through a strategic use of cost-effective clerestory windows. Three volumes form the clerestories, each angled a different direction – south, west and east – to bring light into the space in an alternating rhythm throughout the day. At the terminus of the spine on the second floor is an angled window at the north façade that matches the angle of the rotated volume below. This simple geometric move reiterates the essential concept for the building, accentuates the social spine on the quad-facing exterior, and ultimately, connects the heart of the building to the heart of the campus.


Moravec Hall, the new Ivy Tech Columbus building, evolved as the winning entry from an invited competition sponsored by the Cummins Foundation Architecture Program, a design excellence program who's architectural legacy has distinguished the city of Columbus for over six decades. Moravec Hall replaces Poling Hall, the college’s original 1970s building at the Airpark Columbus College Campus. As a replacement building, the project came with unique constraints such as the need to build the new structure prior to demolition, as well as maintain the near exact square footage with updated programs. At the same time, the project afforded the opportunity to re-shape the campus as well as the daily life of the school.

The Airpark campus is integral to the Community Education Coalition (CEC) whose mission is to support community education through strategic partnerships among community stakeholders, businesses, and educational institutions. Collaborating institutions form the Airpark campus, set around a rectangular quad adjacent to the Columbus airport. The quad is bordered on three sides by the Columbus Learning Center, Indiana University/Purdue University (IUPUC), and the Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AMCE). The remaining south edge was bordered by a parking lot. Given Poling Hall’s tangential relationship to the Airpark Quad, there was the clear opportunity to complete the quad along the southern edge with the new Ivy Tech building and form a true heart to the campus. The current site design is an intermediate step in a wholistic masterplan and landscape to follow, designed by GGN.


The community was central to the design process. Architect selection was in part based on community comments and votes. This took place at a public townhall meeting following interviews with the five invited architect teams. Project siting and concept design were reviewed by the Community Education Coalition – a group of institutions whose buildings surround the quad. Lastly, the program and design was developed together with numerous Ivy Tech stakeholders including Chairs and Deans of all programs, the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and Head of Real Estate. Decisions were largely based on consensus.

As a publicly funded project, the very restricted budget was determined by the state. The project could not go $1.00 over budget. The design focused on efficient use of materials throughout to gain maximum interior square footage with minimal envelope. Furniture and finishes conform to LEED standards. Locally made white brick was determined early in the concept design phase as an affordable and familiar building material.

The school moved in prior to the completion of construction, followed by a period of several months for feedback from occupants. Their requests were minor and addressed in changes such as card-key access. While there was no formal post-occupancy evaluation, comments from all users are continually welcomed and assessed by the Facilities Manager, Chancellor, and Operations Manager. Thus far, comments have been highly complementary. We have heard that students are spending more time in the building, have requested after-hours access to work in study groups, and the faculty and staff "love" the building.

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