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The Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University by Diller Scofidio + Renfro
February 18th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal
The Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University is a 38,815 square-foot, three-story, interdisciplinary arts center at the heart of the College Hill campus, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro.
Brown University will officially opened the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts Feb. 10, 2011. The interdisciplinary arts center will foster innovation, research, collaboration, creativity, and education among the arts, humanities, and sciences and will be a focal point of the University’s College Hill campus. The 38,815-square-foot, three-story building is designed by the New York-based architecture firm, Diller Scofidio + Renfro.
The $40-million Granoff Center is a revolutionary new building dedicated to encouraging faculty and students to create bold new directions for research, teaching, and production across the boundaries of individual arts disciplines and among artists, scientists, and scholars.
“The Granoff Center reaffirms the University’s belief that the arts are integral to a liberal education,” said Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons. “The Center builds on academic excellence at Brown and promotes multidisciplinary engagement among students and faculty. We especially wish to acknowledge the tireless work, leadership, and generosity of Marty and Perry Granoff, who, along with other donors, made this building possible.”
The Center features:
The Cogut Physical Media Lab to be used for production of and research in sensors, robotics, and physical computing, primary areas of new research and teaching in the arts.
“In creating the design for the Granoff Center, we needed structural elements that would stimulate the creative process from virtually every aspect of the building,” said Charles Renfro, partner-in-charge for the project. “The Granoff Center is a merger of architectural gesture and academic pedagogy. Our strategy was to encourage and illustrate collaboration across every level.”
“The Granoff Center is the embodiment of a movement that started 40 years ago to revisit the University’s approach to excellence in liberal arts education through cross-departmental ways to teach and learn,” said Richard Fishman, professor of visual art and director of the Creative Arts Council at Brown. “The building was designed specifically to serve the synergistic nature of the program. It encourages just the type of interdisciplinary collaboration Brown has historically been noted for, and will continue to develop in the future.”
The Granoff Center is an entirely donor-funded project. Marty Granoff, a Brown parent and member of the Corporation of Brown University, led the fundraising efforts. The Center was named in honor of Perry and Marty Granoff for their extraordinary leadership and generosity on behalf of the University.
“The Center is a groundbreaking and truly unique facility designed specifically for interdisciplinary work between various and often disparate arts disciplines. It puts Brown in the forefront of creating revolutionary and exciting areas of art,” Granoff said. “We are all looking forward to the results of what promises to be remarkable work and achievement.”
University students will attend their first classes in the Granoff Center on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. Courses include “Experimental Musical Instrument Design,” “Curating Contemporary Art,” and “Narrative and Immersion.”
In addition, the building includes elements that will open the Center to the community, including the Cohen Gallery, which will house exhibitions and installations; performance spaces; and an outdoor amphitheatre. Loop, a Julianne Swartz exhibition, will inaugurate the Cohen Gallery on view from February 4 to March 20.
The Granoff Center is conceived as the next generation loft building with a twist. In addition to its large floor plates, high ceilings, and long structural spans that allow great flexibility, the architecture fosters a collaborative environment. The concept involves three stacked floor slabs that are cut in half and slipped vertically to create six half-levels divided by a shear glass wall. The intentional misalignment connects each studio to one above and below while still maintaining light, sound, and visual control. An internal stair connects all levels and doubles as the social hub of the building; its landings are expanded into furnished breakout spaces for serendipitous and planned encounters between students and faculty. The split-level strategy is also realized at the ground: The landscape in front of the building is split in two. One half is tilted up to form the entrance lobby and public gallery; the other half is tipped down into an outdoor amphitheater that flows into the recital hall. The transparent west facade is open to the campus and general public while the surrounding zinc skin is pleated at the sides to bring in light and view selectively.
The University worked with Shawmut Design and Construction to build the Granoff Center, which is targeting a gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green building. Apex Green Roofs designed the self-sustaining green roof and JaffeHolden designed acoustics for the Martinos Auditorium. An independent report on the economic impact of the Center’s construction and operation estimates the project created nearly 310 jobs in construction and related industries in Rhode Island.
Program spaces are interconnected by:
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