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Vision + Concepts for the Art House Features Student Design Projects

On Thursday, March 14, twenty-four students from Architectural Design II and Interior Design III classes entered their projects into Vision + Concepts for the Art House. Organized by Rubicon Seven Principal J. Tedrowe Bonner and NCC Art, Architecture and Design Department Professor Jacek Bigosinski, the exhibition featured design ideas for the renovation or rebuilding of the old Post Office Depot in New Canaan to adapt it to new use as an Art House.

The Art House looks scary on the outside, but inside its hot. Sarah Edwards checking out the competition.

The Art House looks scary on the outside, but inside it’s hot. Sarah Edwards checking out the competition.

Students submitted a one-page statement of their concept and project along with two 24" x 36" presentation boards that showed their design ideas. There were six special mention categories: encouraging walkable community; cultivating a place for people to gather; utilizing active and passive energy strategies; creating open studio art space; incorporating the external environment into their design; and most ecologically friendly design. A “People’s Choice” award for the project that wins the “popular” vote was also announced.

Based on their individual areas of expertise, the following local jurors were asked to rate student projects: Brian W. Platz, New Canaan Chief Building Inspector; Janet Lindstrom, New Canaan Historical Society Chair; Laszlo Papp, Architect, Chair of Planning and Zoning Commission in New Canaan; and Lesley Leeasch, Silvermine Art Center, New Canaan.

NCC Architecture students Aliaksei Makarevich making a pitch, Wonsun Oh and Theresa Kotulsky discussing the project.

Left: Aliaksei Makarevich making a pitch. Right: Wonsun Oh and Theresa Kotulsky discussing the project.

Brian Platt, New Canaan Building Inspector with Dominika Fronckiewicz; and Platt in a group dicussion.

Brian Platt, New Canaan Building Inspector with Dominika Fronckiewicz; and Platt in a group dicussion.

Laura Pirie Architect and Professor at Yale University, hands out scoring sheets for the Peoples Choice award. 
J. Tedrowe Bonner, Principal of Rubicon Seven presents the evenings’ awards.

Left: Laura Pirie Architect and Professor at Yale University, hands out scoring sheets for the Peoples Choice award.
Right: J. Tedrowe Bonner, Principal of Rubicon Seven presents the evenings’ awards.

Laszlo Pap, Architect and Chair of Planning and Zoning Commission in
New Canaan with Xu Wang, left, and Aliaksei Makarevich, right.

Laszlo Pap, Architect and Chair of Planning and Zoning Commission in
New Canaan with Xu Wang, left, and Aliaksei Makarevich, right.

Jurors were asked to evaluate the projects on a four-point scale to see if they were developed from a core concept, where the scale of the design was responsive to the surroundings and addressed the following issues:

  1. History: Does the design speak to New Canaan’s legacy of being both “the land of steady habits” and one of America’s most resourceful and creative towns?
  2. Building: Does the design suggest a basic understanding of life safety and building code concepts, and of a quality suggesting craftsmanship? Is the design practical from a safety vantage point? Are current materials reused, and local materials used when feasible? How flexible is the interior space for multipurpose use?
  3. Architecture and Land Use: Does the design create a synergy with its surroundings, create walkable community, and generate a healthier ecology? Does the designs demonstrate an understanding of and endeavored to integrate concepts of Zero Net Energy/Zero Net Carbon Footprint?
  4. Art Space: Overall, which designs would inspire artists to create great work and great relationships with people? Specifically, how is natural light employed, and is it best use for working studio space? Is there a good balance between an open studio concept, and privacy when needed? Is the interior flexible enough for mixed media arts (music, dance, painting, sculpture, etc.?) Are all the design amenities included to meet artist’s needs?

Vision + Concepts for the Art House winners Ivan Jaramillo, Wonsun Oh, Tetyana Fen,
Dominika Fronckiewicz, Aleksander Melko, Aliaksei Makarevich, Tania Clara and Andres Rincon

Vision + Concepts for the Art House winners, from left: Ivan Jaramillo, Wonsun Oh, Tetyana Fen,
Dominika Fronckiewicz, Aleksander Melko, Aliaksei Makarevich, Tania Clara and Andres Rincon

This was a wonderful opportunity for NCC students to put their “learned skills” as architects and designers to a real-life test, with results that will benefit the New Canaan community.

The Art House is dedicated to fostering the arts in the New Canaan community. The renovation will be paid for by Rubicon Seven, which will continue to act as a patron, raising funds for the ongoing programs in the building. Once its transformation is complete, the Art House will offer studio space to artists who volunteer their time to teach weekly free art courses to area youth. The Art House is located at 100R Elm Street, New Canaan, CT. For more information, visit rubiconseven.com, or call 203.517.4113.

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