the Teachers

Cleveland State University sought to change the face of both the campus and downtown Cleveland, creating a vibrant living and learning community in the heart of the city.

Julka Hall, which serves future front-line professionals such as teachers, administrators, health educators and nurses, is a significant component of the University's $500-million campus master plan. It unites the eight departments comprising the College of Education and Human Services, once scattered throughout the campus.

Inside, flexible classrooms and group work spaces help like-minded peers gather to dialogue, debate, reflect and exchange knowledge. These informal collaboration areas were inspired by urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg’s concept of “third places,” where people connect outside their formal roles at home and work. This design decreases the distance between teacher, learner and citizen, and as a result, college enrollments are up 20%.

A transparent façade and public green spaces face Cleveland’s historic main street, Euclid Avenue, reflecting a shift in campus planning that seeks to engage the surrounding city. With this LEED Gold-certified building, the college has a physical identity that projects a strong statement about the University’s commitment to improving education and health in Cleveland.

The "Euclid Ribbon"
The "Euclid Ribbon"
The "Euclid Ribbon"
The "Euclid Ribbon"

Evolving Demographics

To facilitate learning, one must understand the learners. Demographic trends show more students than before are attending college part-time; a higher proportion are women; and more are over the age of 25. As a result, universities are transforming their teaching methods, reconsidering technology and other tools, and rethinking the spaces where education happens.

The College of Education and Human Services includes both undergraduates and graduates, but is weighted toward graduate education. The “typical student” is a 31-year-old female who arrives at 4:30 p.m. and takes classes in the evening after having worked all day. Undergraduate education and nursing students follow a more traditional class schedule and utilize the building during the day.

Evolving Learning

Evolving research around the “future learner” suggests the boundaries between teacher and learner are more diffuse than ever. Learning has become a “knowledge network,” rather than a traditional “knowledge transfer” between teacher and student.

At Julka Hall, teachers and pedagogies vary, so classes might employ a lecture mode, group set-ups or individual work from one class to the next, or even during the same class period. Flexibility in furniture, technology and space allows transitions between different modes.

Collaboration and Connection

The team studied options for how the building could not only reach out to the city and campus, but also intermix learning zones, thus connecting departments and encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration among students, faculty and researchers.

“Education on Display”
Collaboration spaces face Euclid Avenue

Concept A

Departments linked by collaboration spaces

Concept B

Dedicated collaboration spaces

Concept C


Julka Hall achieved LEED Gold certification, making it the highest-rated building on campus, and one of the most sustainable new projects in Cleveland. With a 26% annual energy cost savings above the LEED baseline, it is expected to save Cleveland State $37,000 each year. It is just one of the university's many campus-wide sustainability initiatives, which are projected to save $62.9 million and reduce energy consumption 39% by 2014.

Awards and Publications


AIA Columbus, Merit Award
AIA Columbus, Honor Award
AIA Ohio, Honor Award


Properties, “Taking a New Angle: Julka Hall brings green building, modern styling to Cleveland State's downtown campus,” August 2010
Cleveland Plain Dealer, “New Student Center and Julka Hall at Cleveland State University add life to Euclid Avenue,” October 17, 2010