SCUP 2016 – Creating a sense of campus identity: the new town square

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Congratulations to our fearless leader, Joe Coriaty, who presented with the Otis team (William Schaeffer – Otis College and Whitney Wyatt – Ehrlich Architects)!

Our inspiration to be apart of SCUP 2016:
Otis College of Art and Design, the oldest art school in Los Angeles, was geographically scattered over multiple locations throughout the City resulting in redundancy of functions, infrastructure, and programs. By consolidating the multiple campuses back onto the small urban main campus – the collaborative architecture team provided an optimum solution by planning a “town square” that fosters cross-disciplinary collaboration, student/faculty interaction, and a physical manifestation of identity for the College.  The addition of student housing with a full service cafeteria and other student amenities, further enforces the sense of place and moves Otis from a regional/commuter college to one that expands its national and international attraction.

Why this is important:
While advances in technology have allowed campuses the opportunity to spread out to increase public engagement, it has diluted the benefits of a centralized campus that fosters direct interaction. Campus planners will discover how this design team learned through programming + planning that physical place-making was key for success in experience-centered learning disciplines.

How our process can help the day-to-day work lives and/or solve problems:
By understanding our design process and the unique needs of a multi-disciplinary College, attendees will understand methodologies for building consensus among stakeholders with often conflicting interests in a collaborative process that aligns academic strategic plans with long-term vision.

The four (4) things our audience took back to their campus from our SCUP session:

Set guidelines in their strategic plan for creating milestones that resolve disparities between academic and long-range vision statements, in our case a “unified campus identity” or a “sense of place”.
Evaluate and prioritize projects that align with the programmatic needs of the University, and foster multi-disciplinary interaction.
Create a structure for identifying opportunities in the master plan to cross-pollinate programs, functions, and infrastructure.
Present a real-world case study for physical “home-base” facilities in creative project-based learning disciplines such as product design, fashion, fine arts, digital media and graphic design.