Beals Studio — officially called the David T Beals III Studio for Art and Technology — is located on the campus of the Kansas City Art Institute. It is intended to serve as a flexible and technically sophisticated environment for both learning and working.
The studio is shared by students in all of the 13 majors offered by the college, ranging from ceramics and sculpture to filmmaking.
"Recognising the institute's need for a space that helps students become skilled in using digital fabrication technologies to communicate their ideas, we responded by designing a versatile, open, daylit volume to provide maximum flexibility," said Gould Evans, a Missouri-based firm with offices in six US cities.
The structure serves as an addition to the Volker Building, which houses the sculpture department and was also designed Gould Evans.
Rectilinear in plan, the studio facility features black metal cladding and exposed structural components. Its "simple shed form" contrasts with the historic buildings on campus, including an 1896 red-brick mansion called Vanderslice Hall that serves as the institute's administrative centre.
Beals Studio was conceived as a counterpoint to the mansion, expressing the institute's "balance of modernity and tradition", the firm said.
Encompassing 5,000 square feet (464 square metres), the studio contains a fabrication lab with top-grade equipment, including laser cutters, engravers, computer numerical control (CNC) routers, cameras, scanners, and interactive touch screens for collaboration.
The lab also houses a digital loom and eight different types of 3D printer.
The building features a gallery and critique room, "where students and faculty can present, review and display their work", the firm said.
In addition to the studio, the architects created a new plaza and campus entryway.
Other projects by Gould Evans include the revamp of a Brutalist library in Kansas, which involved wrapping the building in a terracotta rainscreen and adding modern amenities such as a recording studio.
Photography is by Lara Shipley.