Redesigning the Physical Classroom – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Redesigning the Physical Classroom

Faculty, students and architects plan for Houghton renovation

On Saturday, Feb. 17, some of the best architectural minds on campus got together to discuss and plan the upcoming makeover for areas in Houghton House. In addition to the project’s architect and professors of art who brainstormed about blueprints, HWS architecture students also gave their input, applying what they’ve learned in the classroom to design that very space.

Thanks to a generous grant from former architecture major Ridgway H. White ’02, the third floor of Houghton House will become a more spacious architectural hub that includes a new design studio, critique space, photo studio, storage and exhibition spaces. In addition to the renovation’s numerous benefits to HWS students and faculty, the plan also benefits the environment by including new energy-saving lighting and environmentally-friendly linoleum flooring. The renovation is scheduled to begin this summer.

To help draw up the plans for this transformation, Assistant Professor of Art Kirin Makker organized and hosted a day-long brainstorming session that also welcomed friend and architect Brent Stringfellow from the New York-based Polshek Partners Architects as well as HWS Buildings and Grounds Senior Project Manager Chris Button, Associate Professor of Art Stan Mathews and senior Hobart architecture majors Andrew Thies, Chris Garland and Steven Anliot.

“The students really got a lot out of it,” said Mathews of the intensive, day-long “charette.” “They got to contribute their ideas, and they got to see how an architect balances multiple factors in developing a design plan.”

From the perspective of the students involved, “The charette was a mutually beneficial event-it was a great practical learning experience for us students and in turn the Colleges got credible, useful feedback,” explained Thies. “I hope this is just a small example of a larger trend at Hobart and William Smith.”

In the photo above, architecture students meet with architect Brent Stringfellow during a day-long brainstorming session to explore possibilities for the renovation of the third floor studios in Houghton House.