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Virtual reality and design on a human scale

Friday, 6 November 2015

Justin MillerEveryone in the design community is talking about Virtual Reality, and that’s not surprising. It seems like every new design tool and technology comes with a promise to help us work more efficiently and more effectively. As a rookie user, I have to say that my VR experience has opened my eyes to the future of design.

When Angeline from our IT team mentioned that she’d been developing a virtual tool that would let users experience their 3D SketchUp models in VR, I jumped at the chance to test it on the NICU (neonatal ...[more]

The Hobson Award comes home

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Hobson Award-SmilowThe Hobson Award is the highest level of design award given annually by the Boston Society of Architects. The AIAS Chapter at MassArt and the BSA have fostered a wonderful, collaborative relationship over the past five years. This relationship led to a phone call last fall asking if our chapter would design and create the next Hobson award.

It felt like being asked to design an Oscar, and we were thrilled to get started. I was one of five students who volunteered to participate. By brilliant happenstance, every grade level in the architecture department ...[more]

Pathways for success: Serving the community college client

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Bill FitzpatrickIt would be difficult to imagine the ‘typical’ community college student.

They are from the local community or from across the world; working two jobs but still making time for school; they are in their late teens, their early 60s and every age in between. Some are married, some are single, and many have children. As a population, they have no typical family structure, life style, ethnicity, or national origin.

What they do have in common is a shared sense of focus, drive, and motivation and, often, little prior exposure to higher education. Many are ...[more]

Building for innovation

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

One of an occasional series

Voiland_orig_150x150A series of new initiatives, programs and buildings have sprung up at America’s colleges and universities.

These come in response to a growing set of expectations for higher education coming from both the academic community and society at large. Driven by technological change and increasingly diverse populations, the academy has risen to meet these expectations with a variety of cross-disciplinary problem-based research efforts, new curricula, novel teaching methods and links to the commercial sector. Increasingly, these new behaviors and programs are being grouped under the banner of ‘Innovation’ and housed in ...[more]

Landscape and the campus ideal

Monday, 12 January 2015

Scott SlarskyThe American campus is unique as a Utopian construct that creates a setting for scholarship that keeps nature close. At the turn of the last century, the vision of Frederick Law Olmsted in turn influenced the campuses of John Russell Pope, Jens Larson, and others.

Many of the campuses that were designed in this spirit have seen this rhythm of landscape and built form disrupted and diminished over the decades as institutions bowed to the pressure to accommodate new programs. This was exacerbated by a generation of academic buildings that focused inward, turning their ...[more]

Strategic flexibility: phasing for uncertainty

Saturday, 10 January 2015

One of an occasional series

Phased development can be a practical approach to project planning for a number of reasons, including financial, strategic, and operational flexibility.

Building a new facility in rational phases and allowing future occupants to fit out their own spaces is a strategy often used in the commercial development that institutions can adopt.

Many clients know they will need expanded facilities in the future, but cannot determine specific funding streams at planning outset with any certainty. Often, having additional space will open up new program opportunities such as research grants. Building generic core and shell space that can flex in the future allows institutions to react to the ebbs and ...[more]

Sparkle+Chime – making magic

Monday, 24 November 2014

What does it take to make magic in a park?

This fall Shepley created Sparkle+Chime, an art installation made up of over 3600 small mirrors and discs suspended from the trees to create dancing patterns of light and delicate chiming. The making of Sparkle+Chime required an all-out office effort led by mostly junior staff, and drew on the diverse experience – from rock climbing to jewelry making – of the core production team. Inspired by a compelling conceptual design from competition winner Jean Kim, we took up the challenge to make ...[more]

Making a MakerSpace

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

MakerSpaceThe term gets tossed around like confetti at a parade, but what are MakerSpaces and what makes them tick?

Libraries have long been the intellectual hub of their campus or community. For the past decade, we’ve witnessed the transformation of libraries from fortresses of knowledge to information gateways.

MakerSpaces merge education and community, demand fluency with evolving technologies, foster a more active learning process and directly reflect the changing norms of the educational environment.

What your community of users needs is unique to your institution. How do you make the vision of a MakerSpace a reality?

Start by establishing a set of guiding principles.

These ...[more]