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College, museum projects win architecture awards

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The American Institute of Architects-Colorado South Chapter recently recognized two Bethel College-related projects for design excellence.

The organization’s 2007 Design Jury awarded citations to Bethel’s Krehbiel Science Center and to the El Pomar Foundation Carriage Museum in Colorado Springs, whose new permanent exhibit was designed and built by staff from Bethel College’s Kauffman Museum. The architect for both projects was Newton native Gregory Friesen, now president and director of design at CSNA Architects, Colorado Springs.

The design for Krehbiel Science Center, completed in 2002, had been previously recognized by the National Science Foundation’s Project Kaleidoscope as a national model for small, undergraduate college science facilities at a “Laboratory of the Future” conference held at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., in 1998.

The Kauffman Museum exhibit team collaborated with CSNA Architects and the El Pomar Foundation staff to develop a dynamic new permanent exhibit, completed in December 2005, for the Carriage Museum. The museum displays horse-drawn carriages, early Pikes Peak Hill Climb racing cars, Native American artifacts and personal collections of Spencer Penrose. The Penrose legacy includes the Broadmoor Hotel, the Colorado Springs Zoo and the El Pomar Foundation, today one of the largest private charitable foundations in the Rocky Mountain West.

“The Penrose collection is very similar to the Charles Kauffman collection at Bethel,” said Friesen, a Bethel alumnus. “I had only one group in mind to work with me on the Carriage Museum and that was the staff of Kauffman Museum. It is rare to work with a group that has experience with an eccentric collection, actually operates their own museum and in addition provides design and story development services to other museums. Their vision and insights contributed significantly to the success of this new museum.”

Chuck Regier, Kauffman Museum curator of exhibits and Carriage Museum project leader, said, “I really appreciated working with Gregory Friesen. He facilitated a creative process for designing the interior architecture for this new museum environment. We are pleased that this collaboration was recognized by this design award.”

“It is a pleasure to work in Krehbiel Science Center, thanks in no small part to the creative design of Gregory Friesen,” said Richard Zerger, Bethel College professor of chemistry. “The unique design – laboratories clustered around a central seminar room and faculty offices – gives us a facility that matches the way we teach at Bethel College. Combined with an abundance of natural light and solid construction, this makes Krehbiel Science Center a very pleasing place to work and study.”

The AIA-Colorado South awards ceremony took place at Colorado College in Colorado Springs Nov. 30, 2007. Patrick Gallagher of Gallagher & Associates, Bethesda, Md., and Jeff Greenbaum of Smith Group, Washington, D.C., to select the winning entries. Both are nationally known architects for museum, arts and cultural projects.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the highest ranked Kansas college in the national liberal arts category of U.S. News & World Report’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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