Boston – The Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) recently opened the new Design and Media Center.
Designed by Susan T. Rodriguez of New York-based Ennead Architects, the center will become the college’s new formal entrance, with a three-story glass façade at 621 Huntington Avenue, prominently positioned on Boston’s Avenue of the Arts. Comprised of 40,000sf of new space for the college, the Design and Media Center becomes the front door to the entire MassArt campus, connecting for the first time all of the college’s adjacent buildings and providing full accessibility to campus.
Repurposed from an underutilized gymnasium in the center of campus, this $40.4 million project was carefully designed to establish a new interdisciplinary, flexible space model that would meet the rapidly evolving standards in art and design education and match contemporary studio practice. New opportunities for collaboration among disciplines and collaboration with corporate partners will advance opportunities for MassArt students and better prepare graduates for roles in the creative economy.
The building’s highlights include: a grand three-story atrium that will be the new welcoming entrance to the college; connection among the tower, south, east, and north buildings, providing easier access to and movement throughout campus buildings; 130-seat lecture hall with a 4K digital projection and sound system; fully equipped sound studio; modern, fully appointed wood shop; additional gallery space; professional film lighting studio; two high-tech black box studios; product development laboratory; and project rooms that are multipurpose and can be booked flexibly for meetings, projects, or installations on a temporary basis.
The project marks a major higher education capital project commitment of the Baker-Polito Administration and Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), supporting the creative industries in Massachusetts. Built to meet LEED Silver certification, the Design and Media Center will be a laboratory for interdisciplinary learning as well as a space for community collaboration.
“We are excited for the new opportunities and talent that this facility will help continue to bring to greater Boston and Massachusetts’ design economy,” said Governor Baker. “Our administration is proud to make this commitment in support of the Design and Media Center and MassArt’s community engagement and educational mission.”
“The opening of the Design and Media Center is a pivotal moment in the life of MassArt,” said Ken Strickland, Interim President and Provost. “This building demonstrates the remarkable commitment that the Governor’s Office has made to art and design education, and celebrates both the College’s legacy and future impact on the Commonwealth’s creative economy. We are profoundly grateful for this partnership.”
For the spring 2016 semester, the College will dedicate one project room to interdisciplinary academic activities in the area of sustainability. The Sustainability Incubator will host courses, workshops, lectures, and exhibitions on a variety of topics, enabling the MassArt community to collaboratively respond to the challenges of sustainability in art and design work. Some of the classes that will take place in the Sustainability Incubator include Writing Climate Change (Liberal Arts), Landscape Photography (Media Arts), and Sustainable Projects (Studio for Interrelated Media). The Sustainability Incubator will host several guest artists and lecturers this semester, including Ellen Driscoll and Christoph Irmscher.
“Designing a new building that translates the College’s vision into a built reality has been a tremendous opportunity for our team at Ennead,” said Susan T. Rodriguez, design partner. “Our goal has been to create a new transparent face to the city, opening up the block to the surrounding community to reveal the activity and creative curriculum at Mass Art within.”