Raising glasses — and a final beam — to the Richardson Design Center

Video by Christian Knoll

At a beam-raising ceremony marking a major milestone in construction of the Richardson Design Center at Colorado State University last week, two interior design students thanked Nancy and Curt Richardson and other donors for making the new facility possible.

“You’re giving us much more than just a beautifully constructed building,” sophomore Nick Hahn said. “You’re giving us an educational foundation to set us up for success the rest of our lives.”

The Richardson Design Center was made possible by an $8.1 million gift from the Richardsons, who co-founded OtterBox and Blue Ocean Enterprises. Nancy Richardson, who is a CSU interior design alumna, and her husband were on hand for the March 30 celebration, which marked the placement of one of the facility’s final steel beams.

Attendees signed the beam before hearing remarks from Hahn, sophomore Ally Hamlyn, College of Health and Human Sciences Dean Jeff McCubbin and Laura Malinin, an assistant professor in the Department of Design and Merchandising who serves as director of the new center.

‘Showcase our work’

“It’s just so exciting to have a building that’s going to represent the status of our design program,” Hamlyn told the crowd before the beam was hoisted into place. “There are a lot of misconceptions about what design students actually do, and I think the design of the building, with all of its glass and open rooms and spaces, will allow people to see what we do and showcase our work.”

Hahn described the “maker’s space” where students will be able to work together as they experiment with new concepts, and Hamlyn added that much of the building’s infrastructure will be left visible, to serve as a learning tool for students.

Malinin said the center will bring together many departments on campus and was the result of 62 visioning sessions attended by the various partners.

The Richardsons
Curt and Nancy Richardson

“Through this process, we realized we needed a place for cross-disciplinary design thinking and creativity, a place where students from many different design disciplines can get together and come up with novel ideas for the future,” she said.

Contributors to the project

McCubbin thanked those who made the project possible, including the Richardsons; CSU alumna Carla Dore, president of Workplace Resource; and the University Facility Fee Advisory Board, which allocated $230,000 in student fees to the project.

“It’s not just a new building, it’s going to have some new curricular opportunities for our students,” McCubbin said before raising his glass for a toast. “Here’s to the Richardson Design Center and the academic opportunities it will create.”

The $19.5 million facility, located between the Gifford Building and the new on-campus stadium, is expected to open in January 2019. Construction began last September.

The Department of Design and Merchandising is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.