Blossoming knowledge

January 30, 2009
Publication: Modern Steel Construction p 31-33
Author(s): Parker, James C. Sifre, Pedro J. Zimmer, Alec S.

Abstract: In 1984, a seminar at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine called "Teaching about the Nazi Holocaust in Maine Schools" inspired a number of participants to found the Holocaust and Human Rights Center (HHRC) of Maine the following year. Since its founding, this organization has developed a lending library of materials on the Holocaust and human rights issues, and it regularly sponsors multi-day seminars for students and educators on these themes.|In 2004, the HHRC, looking for a permanent home, sponsored an international competition to design a new building on the campus of the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA); the competition drew more than 200 entries. Boston-based architecture firm Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott (Shepley Bulfinch), with the assistance of structural engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz and Heger's (SGH) Waltham, Mass. office, prepared the winning entry for the design competition.|The result is the Michael Klahr Center (MKC). Named in honor of a Maine resident who survived the Holocaust, the Center is a 6,300-sq.-ft, one-story building that houses classroom space, administrative offices for the HHRC, and a soaring atrium that can be used for temporary exhibits and functions. The centerpiece is a permanent exhibit space that tells the stories of Holocaust survivors from Maine through their own words in an audio-visual presentation. The MKC is situated on a low hill at the southeastern edge of the UMA campus along Jewett Road and is linked to the Bennett D. Katz Library, helping to enclose an existing academic quadrangle.

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