Noel Studio Receives National Recognition for Effective Design

Noel Studio photo

Eastern Kentucky University students are flocking in increasing numbers to the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity for assistance in designing effective communication pieces.

Conversely, the Noel Studio’s design itself is an inspiration as they seek to become better communicators and researchers.

In its August 2011 issue, American School & University magazine recognizes the Studio among seven libraries and media centers in a feature spread on Outstanding Designs.

“Bright, airy and colorful, the Studio has exceeded expectations … becoming a popular campus destination for students,” the article said.

The magazine cites numerous design features: an invention space with whiteboards for brainstorming; practice rooms for small groups rehearsing presentations; a presentation suite for delivering and refining oral presentations; the “Greenhouse,” a central open space with skylights for spontaneous collaborative group work or work with manipulatives, with workstations, video cameras, and flat screen computer monitors; and additional classroom and conference room for larger meetings, and networking with colleagues on campus and remotely.

“When you walk into the space, you can’t help but feel immersed in creativity,” said Studio Director Dr. Russell Carpenter. “There’s a creative energy that consumes you. The bright colors, open areas, and flexible seating encourage students to think innovatively about their work, which helps make critical and creative thinking intentional. The space also invites collaboration, and sustained collaboration promotes transformative change in our communication-design process including the ways we use information.

“The thoughtful design of the space is already paying off,” Carpenter continued. “We’re seeing students on campus who are more thoughtful about the choices they make, designing messages with impact. That is, students use the different areas of the Noel Studio — from the invention space to the breakout spaces — to craft their communication because it allows them to consider their options from multiple perspectives. These collaborative spaces encourage students to obtain feedback from audience members far in advance of the project’s due date. The Noel Studio’s space informs the approach and, in turn, the approach shapes the spaces in which we invent and refine our communication.”

The architect for the Noel Studio was Voelker Blackburn Niehoff Architects of Louisville, with additional interior design by Swope Design Group, also of Louisville.

As the magazine article pointed out, the Noel Studio sprang from space that had formerly been dedicated to storage in the University’s John Grant Crabbe Main Library. “The space was completely re-imagined and rebuilt into an open, flexible, well-lighted student-focused space.”

The Studio embodies the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan, which calls for the University to develop informed, critical and creative thinkers who communicate effectively..

Earlier this year, the Studio was spotlighted in the cover story for the May 2011 issue of University Business magazine. The five-page article, entitled “Collaboration Station,” focused on effective and innovative group study spaces at several colleges and universities nationwide.

For more information about the Noel Studio, visit

Since 1928, American School & University magazine has been an information source for education facilities and business professionals — serving the nation’s K-12 and higher-education administrators responsible for the planning, design, construction, retrofit, operations, maintenance and management of education facilities.

Published on September 13, 2011

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