All posts in Dean's List

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Cooper Union Board, Committee to Save Cooper Union, and NY Attorney General reach agreement on how to manage school
The Committee to Save Cooper Union (CSCU), the Board of Trustees of the Cooper Union, and New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman signed a consent decree on September 2nd to manage the school's governance and finances. The consent decree lets the Board avoid admitting wrongdoing, while outlining changes the school's leadership must make to return Cooper Union to a sustainable, no-tuition model. This move is a critical step towards the resolution of a 2014 lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General's office and CSCU against the board alleged that, among other transgressions, the mismanagement of the school's $375 million endowment violated  Cooper Union's charter. The consent decree establishes a framework in which all stakeholders can enact plans for better governance, responsible fiscal management, and chart a plan for the school to return to its merit-based, tuition-free model. The plan is still awaiting approval by the court, but the full list of stipulations is here. In the school's charter, founder Peter Cooper mandated that the Cooper Union be free and open to all. The entering class of 2014 was required to pay tuition, the first class to do so since the early 1900s. The school's financial troubles are exemplified in the construction and financing of 41 Cooper Square. Designed by Thom Mayne of Morphosis, the building was completed in 2009 at a cost of $166 million. The Cooper Union went into debt to capitalize the project, borrowing $175 million against the land it owns underneath the Chrysler Building. The school lost an additional $35 million after the collapse of Lehman Bros. in 2008, leaving the school in near financial ruin. Students, alumni, faculty, and staff hope that the agreement reached last week will put Cooper Union on a path back to financial solvency.
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NCARB rolls out new program that could allow architecture students to get ahead in their licensure process
As thousands of architecture students prepare to head back to school, August marks yet another step toward an easier path to licensure for aspiring architects. NCARB recently accepted proposals from over a dozen accredited architecture schools implementing a more "integrated path to licensure within academic programs accredited by the NAAB." The so-called Integrated Path Initiative encourages NAAB-accredited programs to suggests approaches that could potentially result in completing Intern Development Program (IDP) requirements and begin taking the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) all before graduation day. Passing all ARE divisions before graduation is not required. The proposals, which were received back in June, were reviewed by the NCARB Licensure Task Force (LTF), composed of interns/recently licensed architects, state licensing board members and executives, academic deans and instructors, and non-architect public members as well as individuals representing the AIA, the AIAS, the ACSA, and the NAAB. Each school will receive feedback from the NCARB on "how their proposal is or could become acceptable before releasing the names of the accepted programs." NCARB also notes that all programs that submitted proposals will be coached towards the next steps including modifications necessary to move forward."With concerns about keeping the pipeline flush with new architects replacing the retiring generation, this initiative assures we are responding to interested students and maintaining our standards," said NCARB president Dennis Ward.
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Students at RISD imagine how a climate change museum in New York City could reclaim a vulnerable site
James Hansen, one of the world’s preeminent climate scientists, has issued an alarming new paper about the impacts of climate change—and the findings are way worse than what anyone expected. According to Hansen and the team of 16 scientists he worked with, sea levels could rise up to 10 feet over the next 50 years. “Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea level rise could be devastating,” conclude the scientists. “It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization.” If Hansen’s predictions are right then many American coastal cities would be uninhabitable—but not everyone in the scientific community is convinced that they are. (The paper is not peer-reviewed and predicts a significantly more dire climate reality than the consensus agreed upon by the UN's International Panel on Climate Change.) With the clock ticking, perhaps faster than previously imagined, Miranda Massie, the founder of the Climate Change Museum Launch Project, is attempting to raise awareness about the changing climate with a museum solely dedicated to the issue. The institution, the largest of its kind, would be located in New York City. Massie said she wants to have it up and running by the end of the decade—a good idea considering that sea levels continue to rise, drop by drop. The New York Times reported that “the New York museum would aim to attract at least a million visitors a year and seek to influence the world, including political leaders in the United States. At the end of the tour, visitors would be encouraged to volunteer their time to help groups that are trying to address climate change: doing anything from making calls on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council to volunteering to help elect a candidate who is determined to reduce carbon emissions.” There are no immediate plans to start work on the project, but Next City reported that the New York State Board of Regents has granted the Climate Change Museum a five-year provisional charter. As for the building’s eventual design, students at RISD have some ideas. Anne Tate, a professor of architecture at the school who is married to Massie’s cousin, tasked her students with coming up with visions for the institution. The students were given a vacant site in Lower Manhattan that is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. "One student proposed to build a cavernous stormwater catchment system beneath the building," Next City explained. “Another proposed a smaller footprint and returned the rest of the site to wetlands. Many of the designs include solar panels, some incorporated urban farms, and all were sensitive to energy loads and orientation.” All of the students proposals can be found here.
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Florida International University to be the first arts and design college to launch a Makerbot Innovation Lab
With 3D printing becoming a major impetus in cultivating startup culture, Florida International University (FIU) is launching a MakerBot Innovation Lab, a 3,000-square-foot makerspace for students and community members to develop product ideas and conduct research. Set to be equipped with 30 state-of-the-art 3D printers and four 3D scanners, the space can serve up to 60 students at a time, with one 3D printer between every two work stations. The school bagged a $185,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to build the facility. “Miami’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has seen enormous growth over the last few years—adding co-working spaces, mentor and funder networks, educational offerings and a host of events,” Matt Haggman, program director of the Knight Foundation, said in a statement. “But there are few established makerspaces where entrepreneurs can experiment and build. The MakerBot Innovation Lab will help to fill this gap, providing the next generation of Miami talent with a space to realize their ideas and inviting the community to connect toward building a stronger startup culture in our city.” FIU’s College of Architecture + The Arts will be the only arts/design college in the nation to house a MakerBot Innovation Lab, according to John Stuart, associate dean for cultural and community engagement and executive director of Miami Beach Urban Studios. The lab’s launch creates abundant educational opportunities as well as a space for public programs. The makerspace will support workshops for elementary and middle school students, dual enrollment programs for high school students, for-credit classes for FIU students and startup programs for recent graduates. FIU’s Urban Studios, a creative space for the performing and fine arts, will work with FIU colleagues and students in hospitality, medicine, and other disciplines to conceive projects to fulfill a community need, such as outfitting homes to be safer for the disabled. The school will also collaborate with Miami Beach–based Rokk3r Labs, a company "co-builder," to hold workshops, seminars and other programming within the Makerbot Innovation Lab.
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Breaking> Nader Tehrani named dean of Cooper Union School of Architecture
New York City's Cooper Union finally found a new leader. Nader Tehrani has been appointed dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. He joins the school this month, taking over where Anthony Vidler left off. Tehrani, formerly of Office dA, is now principal of NADAAA. Tehrani is also a professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and served as head of MIT’s Department of Architecture from 2010 to 2014. For over 25 years, Tehrani has developed research around material culture as the basis for speculation—exploring material properties, negotiating materials and their geometric predispositions and challenging the means and methods of building processes. “Nader Tehrani is in tune with the traditions of the Irwin S. Chanin School in terms of our emphasis on exploration and the processes that are at the core of the creation and production of architectural form,” said School of Architecture Professor Diana Agrest, who chaired the dean search committee. “He brings fresh perspectives on architectural discourse that will open new avenues in our teaching and will help create new energy in the school.” At Office dA, Tehrani has been recognized with the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture (2007). More recently, Tehrani completed three schools of architecture, including the Hinman Research Building at Georgia Tech and the Faculty of Architecture, Building, & Planning at the University of Melbourne. He is currently working on the completion of the new John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, & Design facility at the University of Toronto. Tehrani received a B.F.A. and a B.Arch from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1985 and 1986, respectively. He continued his studies at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, where he attended the post-graduate program in history and theory. Upon his return to the United States, Tehrani received the Masters of Architecture and Urban Design from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1991.
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University of Miami’s School of Architecture trades outdated building for sleeker, modern design
The School of Architecture at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, is updating its historic-though-outdated building with a sleek new edifice featuring an asymmetrical draped roof. The current all-white building, which boasts an arched portico, occupies post-war barracks that were turned into graduate student housing. The real estate–hogging splay of buildings with four dormitory towers lording over them Rapunzel-like are the work of Robert Law Weed and Marion Manley, Florida’s first female architect, as part of a Modernist master plan. Before 2005 and the creation of the Jorge M. Perez Center for Architecture, the architecture department had to borrow classroom space from other faculties. Coastal Construction has donated $3.5 million for the new state-of-the-art facility, to be named the Thomas P. Murphy Studio Design Building after UM alumnus and CEO of Coastal Construction. By spring 2017, students will have the privilege of breaking in the new fabrication lab, lounge, computer lab, presentation areas, offices, and workspaces designed for digital production. The sorely needed upgrades apply to more than just the architecture: a shortage of printers in the past meant that students would have to cut materials by hand during crunch time, and technology was not consistently updated. According to students, the current studios feel “outdated” and create a less-than-flattering impression of the school, often underwhelming visitors from other architecture schools. While some students welcome the new building, others are dismayed that no input was solicited from the faculty or students in the design process. Others allege the new building is “inconsistent” with the predominant design of the campus, which still boasts some of the older architecture.
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Höweler+Yoon combine cutting-edge tech and age-old craft to complete the Sean Collier Memorial at MIT
On April 18th, 2013, the Boston Marathon bombers went on a crime spree that included the killing of Officer Sean Collier who was shot in the line of duty on the MIT campus. In honor of the slain MIT patrol officer, the university commissioned Boston-based Höweler+Yoon Architecture to design the Sean Collier Memorial—a somber, grey stone structure that marks the site of the tragedy. The heaviness of the unreinforced, fully compressive masonry structure is meant to convey the concept of “Collier Strong,” or strength through unity. Thirty-two solid blocks of granite form a contemporary version of a five-way vault. "Our goal was to not post-tension the structure, to make it compressive and use solid blocks," Höweler + Yoon principle Meejin Yoon told AN, "It could have been built out of concrete or steel, but we wanted solid blocks." The large stone pieces were digitally designed and fabricated to work as a self-supporting structural system. Forces are translated into form via a robust combination of cutting-edge computational processes and ancient techniques for making masonry structural spans. The stones were precisely milled within a .5 millimeter tolerance, so that they fit together perfectly to form a compression ring with a keystone that caps the shallow masonry arches. In the center of the buttressed vaults is a covered space for reflection. The buttresses act as walls that extend out to the surrounding campus context. The novel concept required many moving parts to work in harmony. "It is very pure. It is a simple idea," Yoon said. "It took so much collaboration to make this simple idea have the integrity that it did. There were students from 8 degree programs, including a PhD student, undergraduate architecture, undergrads in building technology, and grads in engineering and architecture." Engineering and design were intricately linked form beginning to end. The whole design process was influenced by a feedback loop of physical, analog, and digital models as well as digital simulation. Massive quarried blocks of stone were cut with a single-axis robotic block saw, then with a multiple axis KUKA 500 robot. Robotic milling processes made the tiny tolerances possible. Some of the blocks took as long as seven days to carve, with machines running 24 hours. Often, the cutting tools would wear down, causing the tolerances to change mid-fabrication. The team compensated by altering the digital model and then the next piece would change to match what had been previously carved IRL. Sensors were placed at each joint as the project was assembled on site. As stonemasons placed the high-tech monoliths into the 32-part final assembly, the structure was a choreographed symphony of new technology and timeless craft. The legible visualization of forces is parallel with the MIT ethos of openness and transparency, while the poetic nature of a dry masonry vault represents togetherness of the community in recovery. The project team also included structural engineer Knippers Helbig- Stuttgart, masonry consultant Ochsendorf DeJong and Block Consulting Engineers, landscape architect Richard Burck Associates, civil engineer Nitsch Engineering, geotechnical engineer McPhail Associates, lighting designer Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design, and electrical engineer AHA Consulting Engineers.
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On View> Architecture students to fill Museum of Contemporary Art St. Louis with plastic bubble clouds
Graduate students at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts of Washington University in St. Louis are bringing to life a cloud of plastic bubbles in a show they're designing, building, and calling ACCUMULUS—a portmanteau of the words 'Accumulation, Cummulus, and Us.' 10426677_941348985875809_5475127656180084907_n Led by lecturers Jason Butz and Lavender Tessmer, the students will exhibit their work at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis starting June 5. “Exploring the forms and behavior that can be produced through processes of accumulation and aggregation, the studio tests the pairing of hand-scaled assembly of small parts with larger-scale fabrication and use of material,” reads the exhibition statement the group posted on Facebook. The graduate architecture students in the studio are: Jay Bassett, Jeffrey Lee, Chun Liu, Alex Melvin, Boxun Hu, Qian Huang, John Patangan, Joseph Vizurraga, Yue Zhang, and Ling Feng Zhang.
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Chicago’s Harrington College of Design to close its doors, merge with Columbia College
Chicago's Harrington College of Design on Wednesday abruptly announced it will merge with Columbia College. Jim McCoy, Harrington's vice president of operations, told AN the school will no longer accept new students, but won't shut the door on its existing student body. “Everyone that's enrolled in Harrington, we will teach them out,” said McCoy. Students in the downtown college's associate, graduate, and bachelor programs will continue to take Harrington classes through August 2018—even students who took a semester off can finish their degrees, McCoy said. “We do not want to lock them out.” After the summer term, at which point Harrington will vacate its leased space in Chicago's Loop, students will attend class in facilities owned by Columbia College. Students who complete their degrees within about a year can request a diploma from Harrington, McCoy said, but bachelors finishing their degrees after that time will earn credentials from their new alma mater, Columbia College. McCoy said declining enrollment had put pressure on Harrington's administration to make the move now or face the possibility of shutting students out in a few years while they were still part-way through their academic programs. “It just became obvious,” McCoy said, “to get back to where it was financially stable would have taken years, and we felt this was in the best interest of the students.” Over the last five years McCoy estimated Harrington's enrollment has declined by 30–40 percent. He credits increasing competition, including from online programs, for the drop. But also to blame may be the college's select program offerings. For 84 years Harrington has offered highly specialized programs in graphic design, interior design, and photography. “Those are great fields. They will continue to be great fields,” said McCoy. But they could not sustain business at Harrington. Crain's Chicago Business contextualized the financial situation of Harrington's owner, the suburban Schaumburg-based, for-profit company Career Education:
Like many private education companies, Career Education has struggled with declining enrollment over the past few years and has been losing money. The company's 2014 revenue fell to $736.9 million from $834.1 million in the year prior, and its loss widened to $178.2 million from $164.3 million in 2013.
Nationally enrollment has declined at for-profit universities, as well. “We're saddened,” said McCoy. “We are. We are happy to have been able to partner with Columbia College, and the underlying thing is we're not closing the door on our students.”
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Sir Peter Cook Provides Worthy “Audience” At Woodbury Thesis Exhibition
Earlier this month AN West Coast Editor Sam Lubell joined Sir Peter Cook and Woodbury University students and faculty at WUHO Gallery in Hollywood for Drawing Room: An Audience with Sir Peter Cook, an exhibition of thesis and degree projects and an informal discussion. Drawing Room_Super::Architects Cook, outspoken as always, lauded Woodbury's experimental, outsider nature, the ability of drawing to "elevate the conversation through the unknown," and "nutters" everywhere. His inspiration was omnipresent, with exceptionally-drawn (or drawn and combined with computer rendering), technologically-driven projects—rethinking housing, science facilities, humanitarian architecture, and so on— that paid homage to his quirky aesthetic. The exhibition was curated by Woodbury professors Peter Culley and Berenika Boberska.
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Cross-disciplinary students at Stanford build a light-filled pavilion from high performance glass
Stanford students have taken on an interesting new challenge: creating an edifice that disappears. A just-completed studio, "Transparent Structures," taught by architect Beverly Choe and structural engineer Jun Sato, investigated glass as a structural system using engineered, high-strength glazing. Thanks to a donation from Asahi Glass, students got to build a pavilion using chemically treated glass usually made for smartphones. (Similar to Guerrilla Glass, the best-known smartphone cover.) The pavilion's roughly 100 square panels were held together by aluminum straps and rubber hose gaskets, their transparency subtly changing with different types of film. The vaulted passage, located on the school's Science and Engineering Quad, was lit by LED lights powered by a car battery. Choe's goal, besides creating the glass palace, was to "create a class that was very collaborative." She succeeded, drawing together students from the school's architecture, engineering, and product design departments. Each specialty's strength came out in the process, with structural engineers taking the lead on prototyping, architects taking the lead in conceptual design, and so on. "The product was quite different than if we had just had architecture students," said Choe.
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Washing your hands will never be the same with this award-winning faucet’s swirling lattice of water
If you're trying to up your faucet game and new fixtures just aren't doing the trick—we've got the perfect piece to impress your dinner guests when they visit the powder room. Simin Qiu, a student at the London Royal College of Art, has designed a faucet that releases water in an elegant latticework pattern. Finally, water from the tap won't just lazily fall into your sink basin, resigned to its dreary passage into the sewers; it will do it with pizzaz! To give the water that distinctive, swirling effect, Qiu used three ratchet wheels, two turbines, and two springs within the faucet. "The Swirl," as it is called, is not just designed to make water more aesthetically pleasing - it is designed to use less of it, too. Qiu said the one-touch fixture would put out 15 percent less water than the typical faucet. The Swirl won a 2014 iF Design concept award, and now Qiu is reportedly in the prototype stage of development. Speaking of cool water things, check out the video below that explains how a speaker and camera can be used to make water look like it is frozen in place. No, not like ice. Like frozen flowing water. https://vimeo.com/111032701 [h/t Beautiful Decay]