Design Competition – “A Vision for a Twenty-First Century University” Rethinking the Entry to the Administration Building.


“Award of Distinction” – Article about the winners of the competition as published in the University of Memphis Update newsletter:

Award ceremony pictures:

Challenge:The University of Memphis is the flagship institution in the Tennessee Board of Regents system. Its motto, Dreamers Thinkers Doers, represents a century of leadership. The Administration Building, once the grand building of the campus, no longer provides a significant, positive entry experience to the people who visit it each day. The challenge of this competition is to create an entry experience for the Administration Building that is indicative of a 21st Century University and that respects the past while showing The University of Memphis is clearly part of the future. The experience must be one that is dynamic, inviting, encourages interaction and collaboration, and responds to a 21st century workplace. It should be from all directions and move vertically up the grand stair. The design solutions must be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The cost of construction, durability of materials, and ongoing maintenance by university staff must be considered. The use of reused, repurposed, recycled materials is encouraged.

Solution: “Escape Lounge and Cafe: A Place to Pause.” The design solution was conceived as a revitalization project for the Administration Building. The University of Memphis campus was likened to a city and the Administration Building to an area of that city that needs especial attention to attract visitors and bring it back to life. While studying the Administration Building’s surroundings, I noticed people gather around seating areas and food stands. The approach to the design was to conceive a place in the building that would invite people to go there. The solution was then to create a two-story addition south of the Administration Building which features a lounge and mezzanine surround by a reflecting pool. It links to a café in the Administration Building. The lounge at the South of the Administration Building serves as a connector for the New Entrance. The Café created inside of the building acts as an anchor to attract people inside. The design concept comes about using ideas of MA Japanese philosophy of solid/void, gap, space and pause. The proposed Lounge and Café will have qualities that would instigate people to go there to take a little break from their busy day, get a cup of coffee, read a book or perhaps only pause for a while.



Project Type


303 Administration Building, Memphis, Tennessee, 38152, United States

Related links


  • The University of Memphis - Department of Architecture
  • The University of Memphis - Department of Architecture
  • The University of Memphis - Department of Architecture