This semester, architecture and urban planning students at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan are in for a rare treat, a new school wing. The school has added 36,000 square feet with the completion of the A. Alfred Taubman Wing. In addition, the older building was renovated and reconfigured as part of a $28.5-million project. The new wing was designed by Cambridge-based Preston Scott Cohen, with Troy, Michigan-based Integrated Design Solutions (IDS) as architect of record. Rather than just adding more space, the expansive wing is designed to transform the relationship between students and faculty in the school. With a focus on communal and collaborative spaces, the design is meant to account for changes in architecture pedagogy. While studio spaces still account for much of the active space in the building, large gathering spaces have become the heart of the school. The most notable of such spaces is a 5,700-square-foot double-height commons. Wrapped in ramps which service new faculty offices, the commons is designed to be a place where all of the school’s community can meet. Large enough for major events and installations, the space will be where end-of-year final reviews will take place, and faculty and students can display large-scale works. “More than anything, we were looking for new models of collaboration,” Preston Scott Cohen explained to AN. “The donor, Alfred Taubman, had envisioned that we should completely change the relationship between students and faculty in the building. We have demolished the old faculty wing, and the new configuration of offices is that they are strung along the perimeter of the studios. Now the faculty doors open directly into the studios.” This change, along with the movement of staff offices to look out directly into studio spaces, is designed to facilitate more connection between students and faculty. Classroom and studio space has also been expanded. Over 5,000 square feet of new studio means an additional 20 percent space per student, and a new 2,400-square-foot state-of-the-art classroom can handle large classes that may require unconventional workspace organization. Eight smaller “capstone” and group study rooms also increase flexibility, and provide dedicated space for the school’s journals, Dimensions and Agora. A new student lounge and a reading room also provides space for students to step away from their desks, to work in a less formal setting or to take a moment to relax. The exterior of the building is defined by its large saw-tooth roof line, which hearkens back to the region's industrial past, while bringing soft reflected light into the studio spaces. At the ground floor, the building is held off the ground, creating yet another space to make and gather. A bike parking lot underneath the building also helps connect students to the rest of the sprawling campus. The school’s new dean Jonathan Massey discussed his hopes for the future of the school and architectural education as a whole with AN. “I think that architecture education is ripe for re-imagination. With a college of this scale, with this robust of a community, I hope that Taubman can become a convener of ideas in things like gender equity and inequities in practice and conversations about the way we work. We can prototype and test new approaches to architectural education that can be more equitably accessible to people, regardless of gender or cultural background. There are all kinds of ways this space we are sharing together will help open up architecture learning and practice to more people.”
Posts tagged with "Jonathan Massey":
Jonathan Massey, dean of architecture and professor at California College of the Arts, has been named the next dean of the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. He will follow Dean Monica Ponce de Leon, who is now the architecture dean at Princeton, and Robert Fishman, professor of architecture and urban planning, who has been serving as interim dean. "Taubman College has excelled by taking Detroit, the Great Lakes region and other sites around the globe as frameworks for research on the challenges and opportunities posed by processes of modernization," Massey said. "I am excited to work with U-M students, faculty and staff to generate architecture and planning strategies that expand economic opportunity, increase equitable access to resources, design better health and create the operating system for smart cities." Massey earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Princeton University. He earned a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a doctoral degree in history and theory of architecture from Princeton. Massey has worked for architecture firms including Frank O. Gehry and Associates and has taught at Barnard College, Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute, and Syracuse University, where he served as chair of the Bachelor of Architecture program from 2011-2014. He is the author of the book, "Crystal and Arabesque: Claude Bragdon, Ornament, and Modern Architecture," and in 2006, Massey co-founded the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative, "a team of scholars focused on how buildings shape processes of political, economic and social transformation." He also edits The Aggregate Website.
In the second significant departure this week from the Syracuse University School of Architecture, professor Jonathan Massey has been named the Director of Architecture at California College of the Arts (CCA). Massey, who chaired the Bachelor of Architecture program at Syracuse from 2007 to 2011, succeeds Ila Berman in the position. Although he spent four years in Los Angeles, Massey is new to San Francisco, and admitted, "I still have a lot to learn." So far he said he's impressed with the school's focus on digital craft, its ability to "tap into a broader Bay Area culture of innovation," its diversity of offerings, and its commitment to social justice. While it's too early to set out an agenda, Massey is interested in plugging faculty and students' digital skills into a larger framework, through municipal data, social media, and other means. He wants to connect a strength in formalism with political and social issues—what he called "socially engaged formalism—and he would like to expand the school's regional and global partnerships. Many of these initiatives, he posited, are likely already there, but may be "ready to be developed further." Massey holds a doctorate in the history of theory and architecture from Princeton, a master of architecture from UCLA, and a bachelor of arts from Princeton.