Groundbreaking for Richardson Design Center highlights collaboration, inspiration

Inspiration and collaboration were the overarching themes of a groundbreaking ceremony held Wednesday for the Richardson Design Center, the $16.5 million building that’s about to be constructed west of the Gifford Building.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be involved in a project like this,” said CSU alumna Nancy Richardson. She and her husband Curt, the founders of OtterBox and Blue Ocean Enterprises, donated $8.1 million to the project. “Design touches everybody, whether they recognize it or not.”

The ceremony, which was moved to the Iris & Michael Smith Alumni Center in the stadium due to inclement weather, featured comments from Richardson, CSU President Tony Frank, College of Health and Human Sciences Dean Jeff McCubbin, and Assistant Professor Laura Malinin of the Department of Design and Merchandising.

artist's rendering

Malinin highlighted themes of “transparency,” “heart” and “intersections,” explaining that the building will feature lots of open, connected spaces that will foster cross-disciplinary collaboration.

‘Inspire, impact, innovate’

McCubbin pointed out that the Richardson Design Center involves faculty from five CSU colleges, resulting in “creative intersections across campus, the community and the world to inspire, impact and innovate.”

Nancy Richardson
Nancy Richardson

“This Richardson Design Center will gather artists, humanitarians, scientists, entrepreneurs, engineers and design thinkers to tackle important, real-world problems and innovate solutions for socially and ecologically sustainable impact,” he added.

Frank lauded that interdisciplinary approach, noting that one element of inspiration is the element of surprise, and surprisingly positive interactions occur with “ecosystems brushing up against each other. … This idea of mixing up people of different backgrounds is really captured in this building.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, guests were invited to share their ideas of inspiration on a placard showing an architectural rendering of the facility.

The 45,000-square-foot building is expected to open in January 2019.