I will be introducing different examples of intelligent design for Fine Arts and Performing Arts needs in an academic environment. This the first in a series of notes I will post. Perhaps the most noteworthy building recently completed is the Monika A. and Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Visual Arts Center (2004) at Sarah Lawrence College. This building first came to my attention in Architectural Record before the project was completed. You can see more images of this project at the Polshek Partnership Architects' website or by clicking the image above. (They also built the Fine Arts center for Smith College in 2002.) This building is particularly in line with the thinking we (in the art dept. at sierra nevada college) have about create flow between different disciplines/mediums. The Visual Arts Center uses dynamic walls that allow for flexibility and that flow. Also, there is a film theatre in the building that also functions as a lecture hall. Please note that it was awarded LEED certification- the first in America. (You can read a New York Times article about the Sarah Lawrence College Fine Arts Center as well.)
From the Sarah Lawrence website:“This Center combines all of the visual arts, art history, and film history curricula and facilities under one roof. Its 60,000 square feet houses fully equipped facilities for painting, sculpture, photography, filmmaking, printmaking, drawing, visual fundamentals, and digital imagery.There are six studios available interchangeably for sculpture, painting, and visual fundamentals; one has large garage style doors that open to the outside. These studios are clustered around support spaces, with access to technical support. The open space of the Donnelley Film Theatre studios is designed so that students can see the work of their peers. There are also facilities for printmaking and photography, including an artist’s book studio and a photography support suite, as well as a common darkroom open by permission to students not enrolled in a photography course. Additional spaces are dedicated to welding, woodworking, ceramics, mold making, and papermaking.Filmmaking and new media facilities include a soundstage, animation and editing rooms, and a digital imaging lab. Also included is the 188-seat Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Film Theatre with a screening room/lecture hall (in addition to a Film Viewing Room located in the Performing Arts Center). Access to digital technology is available in all studios and classrooms. A visual resources library, individual ateliers, critique rooms, general classrooms for Visual Culture courses, and a large exhibition area are all part of the Heimbold Center.The Center was designed to be an environmentally responsible visual arts building. It is heated and cooled by a geothermal system; special venting systems reduce exposure to chemicals and vapors; and the College is committed to using alternatives to toxic materials. The Heimbold Center is the first LEED-certified visual arts center in America.” From the New York Times article: ‘Boundaries within the visual arts have been removed and old assumptions about the separation of disciplines in the studio are being abandoned,'' said Michele Tolela Myers, the college president, in an e-mail message. ''Yet the structure of higher education buildings where artists learn have not caught up with this trend. This center attempts to embrace those changes.’
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