A sunken seating area is located the centre of the building. Disks of timber set into light grey masonry contrast the Georgian brick and plantation-style architecture of existing campus buildings. Terraced flooring leads down from the centre of the plan into one of the wings, providing an informal auditorium. Photograph by Steve Hall at Hedrich BlessingStudio Gang Architects, led by architect Jeanne Gang, designed the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership for a wooded plot on the campus of liberal arts and sciences school Kalamazoo College, in Michigan. Concept diagram one – click for larger imageConcept diagram two – click for larger imageSite plan – click for larger imageSite section – click for larger imageLong section one – click for larger imageLong section two – click for larger image “Its tri-axial plan addresses and unites all three contexts with large transparent facades, connected by concavely inflected arcing walls that embrace the interior space,” said Studio Gang. Pockets of dark wood give studying nooks and seating areas a more homely appearance along the edges of the white and glazed space, and differentiate between private and group study areas. Narrow slices of log are set into the concave walls of this Michigan college campus building, designed by Studio Gang to accommodate human rights and social justice studies (+ slideshow). According to the team, its open and transparent nature is intended to support the ethos of the course and to foster discussion, by bringing “social justice topics up from the basement and squarely into public consciousness”. “The stacked wood material also works as a figurative extension of the trees in the adjacent grove landscape,” added the team. Related story: Studio Gang’s Chicago boathouse designed to echo the rhythms of rowingLarge sections of glazing are set into each of the three end walls, while doorways and smaller windows are positioned along the curving side walls. Studio Gang designed the building with a large open-plan space at its centre. One of the glass-ended spaces cantilevers over a pathway to cover a bike park. To one side, a set of steps with an irregular outline ascend the slope towards the entrance in one of the scooped sides. “Historically, convening for social justice has taken place in the most informal settings,” said the architects. Photograph by Steve Hall/Hedrich BlessingSmall circular openings scattered along the facades light study areas and offices within, while a bulge in the wood masonry angles a larger window towards the wooded landscape for privacy. Strip lighting is set into the white slatted ceiling overhead.