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photo of The Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University

The Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University

Columbus, Georgia

The Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University

Columbus, Georgia

  • Design Principal

    Tom Kundig

The Bo Bartlett Center is an adaptive reuse project that transforms a former textile warehouse into a gallery and learning center. Located on the RiverPark Campus of Columbus State University in Georgia, the Center includes a grand lobby, a main gallery, “Bo’s Brain,” a visitor’s gallery, storage and archive space for Bartlett’s work, and office and reception areas. The center serves as an experiential learning center and cultural hub for the visual arts, while affording visitors a broad range of arts experiences offered within the University’s arts district.

Maximizing the building’s interior volume with its expansive 23-foot-high ceilings helps match the monumental qualities of Bartlett’s artworks. The design approach was for the architecture to take a supporting role, placing the emphasis on Bartlett’s work and the center’s educational programming.

Within the redesigned space, the former warehouse structure was left revealed and raw, including unfinished concrete floors and steel beams, which help retain the industrial character of the building. Necessary energy and structural upgrades were made for the space to meet Smithsonian display standards.

Throughout the 13,000 square feet of exhibition space, kinetic gallery walls allow for adaptable plan and circulation arrangements, allowing the center to accommodate a range of programmatic possibilities. Seventeen-foot-tall moveable walls in the main gallery space can be configured to support art exhibitions, musical events, lectures, galas and other events. In the temporary gallery spaces, eleven-foot-tall kinetic walls will house visiting exhibitions.

Bo is a friend first and foremost, and he’s an artistic force of nature. I have a deep respect for his work. My goal as architect was to frame Bo’s work as best as possible so visitors can focus on what Bo is putting into his paintings. Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA

Team