Studio Arts Building Renovation Updates

The LSU College of Art & Design is thrilled to announce that the long-awaited renovation for the Studio Arts Building is underway. The project, designed by Holly & Smith Architects and contracted by Ratcliff Constructors, is anticipated to be completed in late 2022.

Design plans by Holly & Smith Architects:

Update: the building has been vacated and exterior fencing is now up around the building exterior. The construction process has begun!

Latest renovation photos:

The building is 41, 500 square feet and serves studio arts students and faculty. The project will cost $18,092,400, supported by the state and generous private donors.

Formerly called the Old Engineering Shops, the Studio Arts Building began its life circa 1924, along with nine other buildings designed by architect Theo C. Link as part of the original master plan for Louisiana State University. It is speculated that one of the initial uses of the building was that of a fabrication shop for the construction of the original campus buildings. Because the existing building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a complete historic renovation will be undertaken to meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Rehabilitation of Historic Structures.

Renovation plans were drawn by Holly & Smith Architects and have been ready for implementation since 2013. Holly & Smith Architects specializes in historic renovation and adaptive reuse as well as master planning and interiors. Industrial hygienist Monona Rossol, founder of ACTS (Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety), served as a consultant to the architects to ensure the renovation meets all health, safety, industrial, and OSHA standards.

Once renovated, the new building will house modernized facilities for the School of Art, including ceramics, printmaking, and sculpture programs as well as offices. In addition to a total interior reorganization to meet the needs of the school, the renovation will provide significant upgrades to air conditioning and ventilation systems as well as a complete interior finish upgrade.

The plans allow for greater accessibility while maintaining historic charm. At the end of the three existing exterior courtyard spaces, breezeway connector additions will allow a new circulation spine across the four extending wings and provide exterior stair access to the basement spaces and second floors. The steel grillage treatment on the connecting additions references the industrial character of the steel truss framework throughout the high volume spaces of the interior. It also allows the additions to remain transparent and provides a view to the historic structures. The center courtyard connector addition is treated with particular prominence to announce a new south building entry sequence toward a new galley/critique space. The entry will be accessed by a new pedestrian bridge from South Campus Drive.

Check back for more renovation updates as the project is ongoing.