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 "Preston Scott Cohen":
The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) has announced the appointment of Iñaki Ábalos as chair of the Department of Architecture. Ábalos is currently a Professor in Residence at the GSD where he has lead studios, lectures, and seminars grounded in technology and history,with a focus on the thermodynamics of architecture. As a founding member of both Ábalos + Sentkiewicz Arquitectos and Ábalos and Herraros, his work has focused on the intersection between architecture, technology, landscape, and culture. He will assume his new post July 1, replacing current chair Preston Scott Cohen. “The School will undoubtedly benefit from his deep intellectual commitment to the field of architecture as his passion as both an educator and an architect," said Moshen Mostavi, Dean of the GSD, in a statement. "I have no doubt that he will make great contributions to the culture of collaboration within the GSD and to the rest of the university." Ábalos received his masters and PhD in architecture from Superior Technical School of Architecture of Madrid at the Technical University of Madrid, where he went on to teach, eventually becoming Chaired Professor and Director of the Master in environmental and landscape studies. Ábalos has since held faculty positions at Federale Lausanne, Columbia University, Princeton University, Cornell University, and the Architectural Association. He has also written extensively on architecture, with works including Le Corbusier Skyscrapers, Tower and Office, Natural-Artificial, The Good Life, and Picturesque Atlas.
Financial giant Goldman Sachs has received lots of attention recently for its headquarters at 200 West St. New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman waxed poetic about the building’s glass canopy by Preston Scott Cohen. The canopy, said Kimmelman, “elevates what is really just a gap between two buildings into something almost as inspired as the nave of a great Gothic cathedral. That’s the power of architecture.” Or, in this case, the architecture of power. The latest, and more critical, take on Goldmans’ HQ by Times writer N. R. Kleinfield outlines the firm’s impact on the surrounding area which at the time of the buildings completion in 2009, was short on shops and restaurants. So using its $1.65 billion in Liberty Bonds plus $115 million in tax breaks, Goldman just created a neighborhood in its own image.
Is drawing dead? That was the burning question (and title) of last weekend’s symposium at the Yale School of Architecture, which assessed the contemporary state of drawing through three days of lectures and panels, with pen-and-paper proponents from across the architectural spectrum. This convergence of many great drawers past and present coincided with the recently opened exhibition Massimo Scolari: The Representation of Architecture, a largely drawing-based show on view through May 4 in the School of Architecture Gallery. To the central question, the answer came quickly, and it is "no." Many other fascinating and important questions were raised along the way: What is drawing's role in an increasingly computerized design culture, with the rise of BIM technology, computational design, and digital modeling? What is the relationship between the quick, loose sketch and the rigorous, precise computer model? How can drawing, in any medium, inform the process and ultimately, the final building? How do we mediate between real and imagined, and how has that changed? The Friday night keynote came from Sir Peter Cook of Archigram fame, who identified, through countless examples, the moment when drawings are at their most interesting and their most creative. Somewhere between rough sketch and final rendering, a drawing will show the right amount of information, while remaining visceral and tactile. Contemporary computer renderings, Cook joked seriously, often have suspiciously well-mowed grass and suspiciously happy children. He is interested in the slightly less polished version, where the building remains fictional in an honest way. Saturday morning, Julie Dorsey of Yale's Department of Computer Science showed off her new drawing software, The Mental Canvas, which allows users to create 3-D hand sketches on a computer, using an assemblage of floating, transparent "canvases" which can be rotated, moved, and scaled. Next, Andrew Witt of Gehry Technologies worked back from new drawing technology in “A Reverse History of Mechanized Drawing 2012–1900.” It was one of the more lively talks and displayed the history of drawing technologies from early digitally triangulated meshes, kinetic models, and stereoscopic drawings to the 18th-century Italian drawing machines and the projective geometries necessary for the beautiful curves of Neo-Classical staircases. There were some fantastic retro-digital environments form the ‘70s, which oddly seem more "real" now than they probably ever did. Marion Weiss of Weiss/Manfredi illustrated how the uncertainty of hand sketching and charcoal drawing informed the final forms and textures of the firm's Barnard College Diana Center. She also described their Brooklyn Botanical Garden Visitor Center as a series of sections dissolving into the earth, thus mitigating the transition from urban condition to nature. On the other hand, Greg Lynn of Greg Lynn FORM office took the stage and claimed territory for those who sketch on the computer. He exalted that "The rest of you proudly hold up your pens and pencils, but I would hold up my mouse." All in all, the weekend offered a lively and provocative series of talks, filled with rich examples that served to inspire and inform. Despite the fact that a few of the presentations struggled to make a clear point about the role of drawing today, ultimately, the symposium showed that drawing is far from dead. In typically ironic Yale fashion, the best evidence of representation's continuing importance may be the struggle to talk coherently about it. Now excuse me while I go find my pencils.