The Warehouse ready to host classes in downtown Syracuse
The Warehouse ready to host classes in downtown SyracuseJanuary 13, 2006Kevin Morrowkdmorrow@syr.edu
The Warehouse–an experience-based learning laboratory for architecture and design students and a readily recognizable symbol of Syracuse University’s enhanced presence in downtown Syracuse–opens for classes Tuesday, Jan. 17.
SU purchased the former Dunk & Bright furniture warehouse at 350 W. Fayette St. in April 2005 and commenced an extensive $9 million renovation under the direction of the renowned New York City firm Gluckman Mayner Architects in partnership with V.I.P. Structures of Syracuse. Richard Gluckman, B.Arch ’70, M.Arch ’71 is a principal of the firm and a member of the SU School of Architecture’s Board of Advisors.
“It’s exciting that we have had an architect of the caliber of Richard Gluckman involved in this renovation,” says School of Architecture Dean Mark Robbins. “The quality of the space, the light and the openness all make a strong case for the added value of innovative design, especially to projects related to urban revitalization.”
The differences between the 1920s-era building’s former appearance and its new look are striking.
“The Warehouse has truly been transformed into a naturally lit, dynamic facility,” says Charles Merrihew, SU associate vice president, Institutional Advancement. “But the renovation has also preserved the history of the building. The massive concrete columns that support the structure are exposed and are still in their raw form, providing architecture and design students with daily reminders of the engineering that has allowed this structure to endure decades of use. Freight elevators that once moved cars and pallets of chocolate have been transformed into modern passenger elevators and stair towers.
“Open floors that once housed rugs, pianos and appliances now have classrooms, studio spaces, computer labs and faculty offices. Mechanical systems for comfort have been installed and provide amenities where none previously existed,” Merrihew says. “The atrium space, atrium gallery and lecture hall replace what was once the loading platform for the railway cars that backed up to the tower structure of the Great Northern Warehouse. And a public cafe replaces the East Fayette Street loading docks where many Central New Yorkers previously picked up their Dunk & Bright furniture.
“The most striking attribute is the entire east side of the building, which was once solid block, has been replaced with a curtain wall of glass allowing natural light in and an unparalleled view of the city and landscape to the south.”
A total of 617 undergraduate and graduate students, and 63 faculty and staff from the School of Architecture and the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ (VPA) communications design and advertising design departments will begin using the 138,000-square-foot facilities this semester.
“I’m excited about the curricular possibilities the move downtown represents,” Robbins says. “As architects, our graduates need to be aware of the impact of their work in the larger context of a neighborhood and city, and this is the perfect setting for them to understand the intricate relationship among architecture, design and the public realm.”
The Warehouse’s top four stories (floors four through seven) host School of Architecture student studio spaces, classrooms, faculty offices and a computer lab.
The third floor includes VPA advertising and communications design studios, classrooms, offices and computer rooms.
The second floor is a windowless and climate-controlled storage space for the SU Library and the Everson Museum of Art.
The expansive first floor–with entry via Washington Street–features an atrium, an SU Department of Public Safety security desk and office, the School of Architecture dean’s suite, a lecture space with flexible seating accommodating from 125 to 250 seats, an SU Bookstore satellite operation offering design supplies, a vending machine and ATM alcove, architecture storage, gallery preparation space and a loading dock.
The ground floor–accessible via Fayette Street–includes a cafe operated by SU Food Services, an architecture reading room, a box office to open in April, and various “community spaces.”
The basement houses a model shop, storage and a mechanical room.
“We have anticipated this moment for many months, and it is exciting to know our advertising and communications design students and faculty are now in the building and able to take advantage of a downtown learning environment,” says Carole Brzozowski, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “These strong programs will make strong connections with our friends in the local arts community, including those sharing space in The Warehouse. The opportunities for creative collaboration are limitless.”
In the renovation process, priority was given to preparing the academic spaces in time for the start of the spring semester, Merrihew says. The next task is completing the mixed-use community spaces. These include a community art gallery, an artist support space in collaboration with the Cultural ResourcesCouncil, the Everson Museum of Art’s E-Tag arts education program, conference space, a community classroom, and the home of the Goldring Arts Journalism Program.
Work on the community spaces will be done in time for The Warehouse’s grand opening event March 30, and it is being accomplished through a $1.25 million state grant secured by state Sen. John A. DeFrancisco, as well as grants from the Central New York Community Foundation and the Allyn Foundation.
The School of Architecture’s residency at The Warehouse is temporary, until renovations are completed on its main campus home, Slocum Hall. At that time, the school will return to the main campus, while the school’s Upstate: An Institute for City and Regional Design, the two VPA departments and the Goldring Arts Journalism Program will remain at The Warehouse, along with the spaces committed to public and community use.
Shuttle bus service from the main campus to The Warehouse began Jan. 9 on an interim schedule. The regular schedule begins Jan. 17 on a 24/7 basis running every 20 to 40 minutes. Schedules for the shuttle service are available athttp://parking.syr.edu.
Students with vehicles also have the option to use a City of Syracuse-operated parking garage on Washington Street at a discounted rate of $48.60 per month. SU faculty and staff at The Warehouse will use two small, SU-owned parking lots–one to the north of The Warehouse and the other across West Street.
SU’s Department of Public Safety will have a visible presence at The Warehouse, with 24-hour service. Officers will be present at the first-floor security desk and patrolling both inside and outside, augmented by internal and external security cameras and systems. Entry to the building during non-peak hours will be by SU I.D. card access.