Watch a recording of Graham Gund’s Kenyon Unique lecture.
Renowned architect Graham Gund ’63 H’81 has created a number of landmark spaces for the Kenyon community, renovating and creating buildings including Horvitz Hall, the Kenyon Athletic Center and the Gund Gallery. He discussed his ongoing work in this year’s Kenyon Unique lecture, held Saturday, Feb. 25, in the Gund Gallery’s Community Foundation Theater.
The Kenyon Unique lecture series features conversations with distinguished faculty members and Kenyon alumni. Gund discussed his creative process with Kenyon Board of Trustees member Matthew Winkler ’77 H’00 P’13 in a live-streamed event that was recorded for a digital archive. At a post-event reception in the gallery’s lobby, students, staff and faculty were able to meet Gund and Winkler and ask questions.
“I think it’s very important how schools start out with their buildings,” Gund said. “You can almost tell when you look at the original buildings how successful the campus is going to be in the future. Because if there’s a strong interest in design in the beginning, then better buildings kind of follow.”
After graduating from Kenyon in 1963, Gund earned a two master’s degrees in architecture and urban design from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He founded the architectural and planning firm GUND Partnership in 1971, and the firm has won scores of awards for buildings in Boston, Cleveland and Washington, D.C.
Gund’s firm has made important additions to many campuses, including the Ohio State University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Pennsylvania State University. In the past 16 years, he has returned to Gambier to create a wide range of buildings that enhance the College’s original vision for a liberal arts community.
“I’ve always thought that the campus is unique,” Gund said. “There was such vision on the way the original campus was laid out.”
One of his most notable projects at Kenyon was the renovation and expansion of the Gothic revival Peirce Hall. Gund’s addition includes heavily used spaces such as the open, sun-drenched dining room of Thomas Hall, the relaxed Peirce Pub and a variety of modern conference rooms.
GUND Partnership also created the award-winning Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC). The 2006 building houses all of Kenyon’s varsity athletics and spaces for recreational sports and has become a center for campus life.
“One of the things I was very intrigued by was the idea of this space that is sort of endless,” Gund said of his KAC design. “If you get a big enough ceiling, then it’s like the sky, and the repetitive nature of it creates this kind of open space.”
Gund and his team also have given the sciences a distinct home at Kenyon with structures that form a quad. The firm also designed the LEED-certified North Campus Apartments and added the versatile Storer Hall behind Rosse Hall. The GUND Partnership even designed the restoration of the Wright Center in downtown Mount Vernon, which opened to classes in January.