African-Owned Architectural/Design Firm Celebrates Ribbon Cutting Of New Cultural Center At Stony Brook University

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  • Newark, NJ (1888PressRelease) October 29, 2021 - DIGroup Architecture joined key stakeholders, and state and local dignitaries in the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new UNITI Cultural Center, Saturday, October 23 at Stony Brook University. The new UNITI Cultural Center embraces all ethnicities; where students feel a sense of belonging and welcomed by a larger unified campus community. The center supports both a dramatic increase in student population in recent years, as well as a more evolved culturally diverse community.

    The $1.9M center occupies 4,000 square feet within the recently renovated student union building. Its intent is to connect Stony Brook students, faculty, and staff through diversity and multicultural programs, social discourse, academic and experiential learning, support services, and advocacy that contribute to a positive campus climate. The Center also serves as a resource for social justice education, community service, and research and assessment about matters related to diversity.

    Using shape, color, texture and environmental wall and window graphics, the space communicates a welcoming atmosphere to students of all backgrounds. The space encourages interaction beginning with a welcome desk and open lounge area with comfortable, flexible seating. On the perimeter, there are large and small conference rooms, study nooks and work rooms, cultural corner for quiet reflection and office space. Walls wrapped with impactful multicultural graphics and powerful inspirational icons and messages immerse visitors.
    Some of the dramatic design features include a glass exterior where users and passers-by can see the colorful and playful mix of organic structures, furniture, finishes and graphics.

    The Student Experience is state of the art with diverse and dynamic huddle spaces, lounge spaces and study spaces. To view these design features, please click here. For additional photos, please click here.

    According to Jeffrey D. Venezia, AIA, CEO and Principal In Charge “My hope is that through our collaborative process and thoughtful design, we have created an environment that fosters understanding, acceptance and a sense of community in today’s complex world for both students and staff.”

    DIGroup Architecture has planned and designed many of the most significant educational projects across the tri-state area. Their extensive experience in the specialized needs of today’s varied academic arena, both in traditional settings and technology-rich, career-ready environments, has earned them the reputation as an expert in educational design. They have also accomplished large design-build projects, which to date exceeds $415 million in aggregate construction costs.

    Established in 1957, Stony Brook University, widely regarded as a SUNY flagship, began as a college for the preparation of secondary school teachers in the math and science arenas.

    Part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University has grown tremendously and is now recognized as one of the nation’s important centers of learning and scholarship. From its earliest inception in 1957 to present — Stony Brook has remained true to its mandate to become a university that would “stand with the finest in the country.”

    The University campus is located approximately 60 miles east of Manhattan and 60 miles west of Montauk Point. It is perfectly situated between the Atlantic beaches of the south shore and the vineyards of the East End. Stony Brook University has a four-season climate, and is positioned close to both the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound.

    The UNITI Cultural Center (Center) was formally established in 1978 with a council of representatives from Stony Brook's Black and Latino organizations, joined by Black and Latino faculty and staff. The council's primary purpose was to "develop and accentuate" the ethnic cultures that existed at Stony Brook at that time. In recent years, Stony Brook's student population has increased dramatically and evolved into a more culturally diverse community. In response to these changing demographics, the UNITI Cultural Center Student Organization expanded its mission to promote all aspects of human diversity and its manifestations, while still recognizing its original historical roots within the culture of Black and Latino experience at Stony Brook University. Additional information can be found here.

    DIGroup Architecture is one of the area’s largest majority, black-owned firms, certified as a Minority-owned, Disadvantaged-owned, and Small Business Enterprise (MBE/DBE/SBE) specializing in architecture, planning, interior design and environmental graphics, signage and wayfinding services for Education, Healthcare, Senior Living and Civic clients. The firm is known for regenerating urban areas through redevelopment, preservation, adaptive reuse and new construction. The company takes great pride in its ethnically and culturally diverse staff who are passionate about architecture.

    DIG originated as a consortium of several small architectural firms who formed an alliance to collaborate and compete for large projects issued by the NJ Schools Development Authority that revitalized the state’s most under-served public school districts. This collaboration became so successful at delivering many of the state’s most significant, community-centered design projects that the firms formally merged in 2006. The profound impact these projects had on the most basic human need of health and wellness, brought a whole new meaning and purpose to the firm. From that point forward, “Architecture for Change” became our story, design philosophy and commitment to clients to re-imagine structures and environments to unite people, enhance well-being and enrich communities. DIG’s success has not gone unnoticed; in 2021 the company was ranked among the top Minority Businesses and Architectural firms by NJBIZ and Philadelphia Business Journal.

    Today, DIGroup Architecture is exponentially growing; its reach spanning New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. For more information on the firm, please contact: Debra Koehler, at dkoehler ( @ ) digrouparchitecture dot com or 732.249.6242 X110.

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