Revitalizing Seaton Hall: Building update

Rachel Rankin and Chris Jungk, sophomores in master of landscape architecture, check out the schematics and projected timeline of construction of the addition and renovation to Seaton Hall at the Seaton Hall Open Forum in Forum Hall on Tuesday morning, Oct. 14, 2014. (Hannah Hunsinger | The Collegian)

About 200 College of Architecture, Planning and Design faculty and staff attended the All College Open Forum to learn the revitalization of Seaton Hall on Tuesday. Tim de Noble, dean of the college, presented an update on the building project and answered questions. Construction is expected to begin July 2015.

“The idea is that in late 2017, hopefully by the fall semester of 2017, we are back in the building a full year, maybe year and a half, earlier than if we had done a two phase project,” de Noble said.

De Noble explained the history of the project, which began in 2008, the upcoming stages of the design process and what the design coordination team is looking for in the new design.

“We have a place, not just hallways, but we have a place,” de Noble said. “I call it the nexus of interdisciplinary activity; where others want to be in our college and a part of our college, not just our disciplines but where we host other disciplines.”

The design team is composed of professionals from four architectural firms: BNIM, Ennead Architects LLP, El Dorado Inc. and Confluence Architecture. By the end of this semester, the schematic design phase will be completed and design development will begin.

“This schedule is really fast,” Casey Cassias, director of practice for BNIM, said. “So it is imperative that you all speak up now, faculty and students, and tell us what is important to you because we don’t have the luxury of time in order to meet the schedule.”

Students and faculty in the college are being encouraged to use MindMixer, “Lucy Booth” forums and the design coordination team to express their input on the project. The first “Lucy Booth” will be held on Oct. 23 at 10:30 a.m. in Pierce Commons within Seaton Hall.

“We’re going to be located in the front of Seaton and west Seaton, as we are now,” de Noble said. “Seaton 63 is not going anywhere, but we are going to have to find studio space elsewhere.”

While it is too early to tell where studios will be relocated, de Noble said security, transportation, expense of data connections and the number of students and faculty members are being taken into consideration when looking for a new space.

“It’s amazing how fast everything is moving,” Michael Gibson, assistant professor of architecture, said. “Sometimes it takes a year to build a house or something like that. This is going to be a really fast timeline.”

Caroline Finck, sophomore in landscape architecture, raised the question of what is going to happen to Pierce Commons, a familiar meeting place for many students in the college. De Noble said it will not exist as it does now by May 16, 2015.

“The focus seems to be on architecture as opposed to everybody and I think that happens a lot,” Finck said. “I realize it’s a big department, but I think it needs to be shared because we are more then just architecture.”