commARCH Sept/Oct 2021 Issue - Page 61

So often the faculty will think about what ' s the bare minimum we need . But actually we want them to blue sky , a little . We know that there ' s definitely going to be a moment where the budget is going to be a reality check , but in order to get something transformational , you have to think a little more out of the box .
And I think that NK really helped the faculty do that . It was instrumental in making a presentation to our donor , who was so excited that both NK presented their ideas and the faculty talked very specifically about the program . It was such a compelling narrative , and that very day , the donor committed to funding the project .
cA : How did you structure that presentation ?
EB : We actually collaborated with FDU . So Robin — she had her slides and I had given her the design stuff after they have looked at it and approved it . And you know , we just collaborated the whole design idea , but then she went through the story of , what was going on in the animation lab .
HF : Yeah . What their program was and what they were achieving with [ it ] was really illustrated by the animation . That was part of the presentation . And , yet all the hurdles that they have surmounted in order to be able to provide this level of pedagogy in the space that they had .
And so it was very exciting to see them get the space that ... met the level of professionalism , expertise and pedagogy that they have developed for this program .
cA : In higher education , what are three or four things the architect should be cognizant of going into the project ?
HF : For me , if I do my job , then the mission of the university is enhanced . So that ' s always job one for me — to make sure that what I ' m doing is enabling the faculty to do what they do and the students to do what they do . That ' s the most important thing . Then I always feel that a project like this , even though it ' s smaller , can have such power to be transformational and move the university forward in terms of the kinds of space technology .
Nothing is really that way anymore . And technology is a really big part of that . So enhancing that technology , reinforcing the interdisciplinary approach to learning and bringing excitement to everything we do all in the name of excellent education .
EB : I think of three or four things . You have to get the project done within either the summer or winter break . So I know that I want to have a compelling design and then I can meet the lead times needed for these designs . That ' s always really important .
[ During COVID ] lumber prices went up , metal prices went up and I ' m dealing with it right now , just meeting those requirements is really hard . I ' m very passionate about my designs and to get them done in time . So looking at the budget and making sure that everything is in that looks the way that the client imagined it to be .
Those have always been the challenges . Working on this particular job , a goal of mine was to give them that wild space that helped ... push the direction that they want to go in , but also be able to finish it and complete it the way they envisioned it .
And to hold true to the concept , which was this industrial , wireframe idea that we had all kind of agreed on . And I think it definitely accomplished it .
HF : The other thing that NK did really well for us . Clearly we ' re all focused on schedule and budget . That never goes away , but giving us some flexibility in the design .
So things that you can keep or , or slide out and it doesn ' t make a major impact on the design . So identifying those things up front that give us sort of some time and then budget flexibility is really , really important .
Collaborative learning that can happen not only within a program , but interdisciplinary types of learning I think is the future . And if you look at the way students kind of live work study , now very integrated ; it ' s not nine to five , very compartmentalized . commARCH // 61