The Warehouse prepares to become new home of design programs and initiatives in SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts
The Warehouse prepares to become new home of design programs and initiatives in SU’s College of Visual and Performing ArtsSeptember 19, 2008Erica Blustesblust@syr.edu
When The Warehouse first opened its doors in January 2006, it served as an experience-based learning laboratory for Syracuse University students and a symbol of SU’s enhanced presence in downtown Syracuse. This fall, renovations will transform the building at 350 W. Fayette St. into a new home for a number of design programs and initiatives in the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ (VPA) School of Art and Design that will continue this educational model and further community collaboration.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the move and its implications for our students, faculty and staff,” says Ann Clarke, dean of VPA. “With two of our design programs already in The Warehouse, we now have the opportunity to fully showcase the college’s innovative design work and demonstrate how it positively impacts our community.”
The renovations are scheduled to begin in October and be completed in January, prior to the start of the spring semester. They will involve five of the building’s nine floors previously occupied by SU’s School of Architecture, which recently relocated to the renovated Slocum Hall on the main campus. On the first floor, VPA will create administrative offices, satellite offices for its art education and museum studies programs, and The Downtown Quad, a new twist on the traditional student union featuring services for students, seating and a VPA exhibition space. The Warehouse Auditorium, a flexible lecture space, will remain.
On floors four through seven, VPA will house its programs in fashion design, industrial and interaction design, and interior design, as well as COLAB, a new interdisciplinary center for design thinking based in the college.
The college also plans to create a retail space in the building that will feature merchandise related to or produced by members of the VPA community, including students, faculty, alumni and staff.
VPA will continue to use the third floor for its programs in advertising design and communications design, which were among the first academic areas SU moved to The Warehouse.
Fiedler Marciano Architecture in New York City is designing The Downtown Quad. Mark Fiedler and Martin Marciano, principals of the firm, both earned bachelor of architecture degrees at SU in 1986. The design of the other renovations and all construction will be handled by V.I.P. Structures of Syracuse.
A total of 324 upper-class undergraduate and graduate students, 16 full-time faculty and four staff members are involved in the VPA programs that will move to The Warehouse. They will join the 184 students, seven full-time faculty and one staff member in the advertising design and communications design programs.
To celebrate the move and the new opportunities to come, the college will launch the campaign “The Warehouse: It’s not a house. It’s a home.” Designed by Steve Montgomery, professor of practice in VPA’s advertising design program, the campaign will be featured this fall on banners, T-shirts, mugs, postcards and doormats. The college will also use the campaign to reach out to parents of students at The Warehouse and businesses in the Armory Square district.
“The faculty and staff are very enthusiastic about moving into professional, quality space in a more contiguous facility that will enable greater inter- and cross-disciplinary interaction,” says MaryEllen Letterman, chair of the School of Art and Design’s Department of Design and an associate professor of interior design. “Additionally, the showcase quality of the facility will enhance visibility of the programs with the design community, nationally and internationally, as well as foster our ongoing community outreach projects and initiatives.”
The college has enlisted the help of the advertising design and communications design students who are already familiar with The Warehouse to help introduce their fellow design students to the benefits and logistics of studying downtown.
“I’ve always valued sharing ideas and mulling over problems with my designer peers in different concentrations,” says Allie Jennings, a junior communications design major. “Having these design majors share a space will create an invaluable design community for us students. I’m super excited.”
The Warehouse will continue to serve as a home for other University and community programs and initiatives, including SU’s Warehouse Gallery and Goldring Arts Journalism Program; UPSTATE: A Center for Design, Research and Real Estate in SU’s School of Architecture; and the Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development, which oversees the University’s efforts in the Connective Corridor project and the Near Westside Initiative.
The community spaces on the ground floor of the building will continue to be available to the public and will be coordinated by VPA. These include an artist support space, a conference room, a community classroom, a gallery and a classroom for the Everson Museum of Art’s e-tags (Everson Teen Art Gallery and Studio) program.
“VPA is committed to using these spaces to promote community engagement at The Warehouse,” says Clarke. “Our partnership with the Everson is only the first of what we hope will be many successful collaborations with our Syracuse neighbors.”
Those interested in the community spaces should contact Erica Seelye in the VPA Dean’s Office at (315) 443-5889 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about e-tags can be found at http://www.everson.org.
SU purchased the former Dunk & Bright furniture warehouse in April 2005. The University conducted 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. New Construction Magazine honored The Warehouse as one of the best construction projects for 2006.
VPA is the creative center of Syracuse University. The college comprises five areas: the School of Art and Design; the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies; the Department of Drama; the Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music; and the Department of Transmedia. Together, students, faculty and staff play a vital role in the academic and cultural life of the University and Syracuse communities. Learn more about the college at http://vpa.syr.edu.