Friday, May 6, 2011

Inspiring Ideas... Dec 19, 2007

1st floor design we sketched out back on Dec, 19, 2007.

I drafted the post below up in the Summer of 2009 and decided, at long last, to publish it. There’s a campus master plan brewing now, exploring ideas for the next round of improvements at BBA. I’ve mentioned this idea Brian Gawlik and I drafted up back in the day to a few people over the years. Most recently Neil Freebern asked to see some of the drafts.
'Here goes'...

Dec 19, 2007... It was a pretty typical scene. Around 6pm I stopped by Brian Gawlik's office to say I was headed out. The usual banter, a few jokes, thoughts on the day, and on what’s coming up, a discussion on education, politics, the future. Brian mentioned he'd been thinking a lot about the discussions we kept jumping into about conjuring up a new workspace, new programs and how we’d spin the idea of a new building. 5 minutes quickly turned into 10. About then we sat down at the table and started sketching out ideas.

4 hours later… we'd drafted up quite a view into the future:

Create a Fabrication Shop, connect two sound stages (black box style / green screen rooms), video and audio editing rooms, computer labs, an open common area / lounge / screening room with movable furniture, cafe, create partnerships... 

After realizing it had quickly become 1130pm... we had a good laugh and decided to head home.

I remember I barely slept that night. Brian reported the the next morning he’d barely slept either, and showed me some sketches he’d continued on that night on the project space. We reviewed the sketches and bounced around some more ideas. That day I started pulling pictures off the web that matched the look and feel, modern warehouse style from our conversations and sent the link to Brian to view. We chipped away at the ideas over the next few weeks and joked about how improbable it was that the school would build any new facilities any time soon.

Close to retirement from BBA in the Spring of 2008, then Headmaster Chuck Scranton announced the scope of the upcoming five-year plan to the Faculty: The need for a new wood shop, ideas to expand the program, the thought of a new dorm for students, the idea of creating a magnate program at the school. Immediately following the meeting, Brian and I fired up the conversation again, how the new building idea anchored a vast number of the goals Chuck announced that day... the chance to create a modern, innovative program facility.

Then Brian got quite sick. Our conversations became sporadic... an email here and there from the hospital.

Brian came back to school for a short time and was pleased to hear the idea was still brewing. “Keep at it,” he said. “That’s one hell of a program.”

And then after what seemed like a very quick couple of months, Brian passed away on December 8th, 2009.

I’ve thought about the idea we conjured up that night often and about what he said that day in the hallway about keeping the idea going.

So here it is from the notes Brian and I worked on that evening, way back on Dec 19th, 2007, the pictures we saved to a Picasa album on the look and feel a day later... and how idea took off with the the idea of revamping the wood shop into a Fabrication Shop.
Fabrication Shop:
Metals, woods, plastics, 3D printing. 
Basic through advanced and independent work. 
Open work spaces, project tables.
(MIT Fab(rication Lab) kits as a basis to build off (30k base).

The Shop would be an anchor for:
Basic through advanced wood classes. Integration of the wood classes into:
Theater and drama dept: Set design, building. 
New and creative fabrication ideas for all classes. Insert: 5/2009: Serving: MPA, Wood, Science (engineering class), art studios.
Multiple avenues for cross curricular projects, integration with art studios, sculptures, large murals.
Staging areas for projects. Mobile racks to move objects in and out of staging areas.

Garage door for projects to exit outside to theater and to bring in materials.

Connected to the shop would be two sound stages / green screen rooms, one large, one small. One or both could be built off the shop to move sets in and out of... Garage door access from the Shop into the sound stage.

Dressing rooms / prop rooms for sound stages.


Attached to the sound stages: The opportunity to merge high end computer lab/s, digital film, audio engineering, and music. Audio and video editing rooms... Collaborative spaces.

Conference room: Project planning, production meetings.

Storyboard space.

Common area for screenings and large project meetings, a large white wall to project on: movable couches and chairs, configurable space.

Small cafe integrated into the common room: The building has the potential to be open more hours, weekends etc for projects. Student staffed and opportunities for more advanced culinary work.

Look and Feel of the Facility:
Open collaborative style.
Idea for 1 ½ story: Open space over common area. Open staircase leading to second floor.
Green building scope, natural light, glass, open industrial style scope.
Images from the web on look and feel, industrial style (Picasa).

Creates a magnate program for BBA.

Enormous draw for International Students.
Potential for yr 13 program (gap yr film institute program, cheaper than college... (West coast) yr 13 program style), and partnerships with a Grad School.

Grad school partnerships: Film crews, shared expertise, project leadership, collaboration, indy film / documentary showcase potential: Partnership with Tisch Grad Program, NYU: Grad students lead to film crews. Contacts: Kyle Komline, Tim Velsor (as of Dec, 2007).

Leads to facility being open longer, Summer... lots of possibilities.

Possibility of grad students integrating into dorm supervision?

Modern, Weta-Works style, multi-function, cross-curricular creative project space.

Site ideas: Maintenance building site across from the Rowland Center. Move Maintenance across the road, refit that nonfunctional garage space. Rectangle or L...

... End notes

I found this video later of High Tech High in California, a warehouse style, modern space with hands-on labs, project work and some great philosophies on learning.

Good memories and interesting ideas for the future. Hey, when you start dreaming... who knows what can happen. Who knows where it might lead. Engage. AP

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