HKS Inc. named architect for new UNT College of Visual Arts and Design building


HKS Inc. named architect for new UNT College of Visual Arts and Design building

DENTON (UNT), Texas – HKS Inc., one of the largest architectural firms in the U.S., has been named as lead architect, in association with design architect Lake|Flato Architects, for the University of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design’s new building.

HKS Inc. is known for creating state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly structures that promote a sense of community. The firm has worked on such notable developments as the American Airlines Center and the W Dallas–Victory Hotel and Residences in Dallas, as well as UNT’s own Apogee Stadium. They will be partnering with other progressive companies to develop the project.

“HKS/Lake|Flato, along with Brightspot Strategy and our consultant team, are honored to be selected to provide programming services for UNT’s new College of Visual Arts and Design building,” said Mark Vander Voort, principal and senior vice president of HKS Inc. “HKS and Lake|Flato are a complementary and proven architectural team with a shared commitment to the design of vibrant, creative learning spaces. Brightspot is a strategic programming consultancy that partners with leading universities around the country to craft innovative, achievable strategies for their spaces, services and people.”

Greg Watts, the college’s dean, said he wants the public involved in the planning process for the new building. There will be multiple opportunities for students, faculty, staff and Denton residents – especially in the nearby area – to provide input.

“I believe that we are building a community,” Watts said. “The physical space will be our home – an iconic and transformational environment. It also will be a gateway between UNT and our neighbors, offering gallery spaces and unique cultural experiences.”

The UNT System Office of Facilities Planning and Construction is managing the project, and staff has scheduled strategy meetings and focus groups throughout February and March with UNT faculty and students to best assess needs. A program plan identifying a design approach is expected from HKS, Inc. this spring that will help develop a construction timeline.

The new CVAD building will be funded with $70 million in tuition revenue bonds approved by the Texas Legislature in spring 2013. Those funds may be supplemented by donors should the opportunity arise.

Watts said he is looking forward to having a new space to not only showcase the excellence of the CVAD’s students and faculty, but to provide opportunities for continued growth.

“This will be a site for creativity and innovation for art design thinkers and practitioners that is long overdue,” Watts said. “We are delighted that this project is underway.”


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Established in 1890, UNT is one of the nation’s largest public research universities with 37,000 students. For 125 years, UNT has fulfilled its mission to lead the way in educating young men and women and creating leaders with great vision. Ranked a Tier One research university by the Carnegie Classification, UNT is a catalyst for creativity fueling progress, innovation and entrepreneurship for the North Texas region and the state. As the university has grown, so has its reach and impact. UNT graduated 8,200 students last year from its 12 colleges and schools and offers 100 bachelor’s, 83 master’s and 37 doctoral degree programs, many nationally and internationally recognized. UNT’s world-class faculty are making breakthroughs every day and its students and alumni are changing the world around them.

Submitted by Courtney Taylor. Email:

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