On Thursday, April 10th at 6pm, during the reception acknowledging Sheila C. Johnson's generous $7 million gift to the school, four students of the Parsons School of Design, Department of Architecture, Interior Design and Lighting, will unveil a design study that envisions dramatic transformations to the 66 Fifth Avenue, and 2 West 13th Street locations.
An ambitious design exercise that helps visualize possibilities for the School's future plans for renovation on this landmark corner, this project was inspired by Sheila C. Johnson, co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, and her recent gift of $7 million to Parsons School of Design. Led by faculty member Eric Bunge, the team, which includes M.Arch students Robin Blodgett and Lucas Cascardo, and BFA students John Cadenhead and Jeff Olinger, developed the Parsons Design Study 2003 in consultation with Department Chair Peter Wheelwright and Dean H. Randolph Swearer.
The team analyzed the existing buildings and previous master plans, interviewed students, faculty and staff, and worked together to produce a design that would be specific enough to visualize a feasible renovation, and yet general enough to function as a set of strategies for further development throughout the campus.
The visualizations feature remarkable improvements to the school's urban identity, internal organization, and student life, with a complete redesign of its public areas, primarily on the first few floors of 2 West 13th Street and 66 Fifth Avenue. A new entrance on Fifth Avenue would lead to various interconnected double-height spaces largely visible to anyone walking by on the street, including a new gallery, library, café, informal bulletin area or auditorium, and student lounges. Organized as a continuous spiral of stepped ramps and level floors, the new design would operate as a vertical or "stacked" campus within tight physical constraints. This spatial model would relieve traffic congestion at the elevators by providing physical access to public areas directly from the street.
The team outlines new modes of interaction and work, employing wireless networks and glass projection screens that function as acoustic barriers to challenge normative distinctions between typically isolated programs. The result would produce new connections between students, departments and the local community, allowing Parsons School of Design to better engage and interact with the people of New York City.
Members of the press are invited to attend the reception, which will be held at the Donghia Center at 25 E 13th Street (between 5th and University), 3rd floor, and can RSVP by calling 212-229-5314.