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EVENT RECAP: Client Panel – Higher Education Builds to the Future

October 28th, 2015

Featured Author

Kathryn Kucharski
Marketing Manager
Shawmut Design and Construction

Kathryn Kucharski
  • SMPS-NY Director of Programs

On Wednesday, October 21st, The Yale Club hosted our well attended Higher Education panel. Moderator Kenneth Levien, FAIA, Founder and President of Levien & Company, was humorous and engaging and told audience members “we’ve got clients here for you – come up and lay your business cards on the table!” Ken was joined by speakers Michael Joy, Director of Campus Planning, The New School; John Puglisi, P.E., Associate Vice President for Facilities Management, Fordham University; and Marlon Aranda, Project Director – Strategic Assessment, Planning, and Design, of New York University.

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Ken asked the panel how members of the audience can qualify to work on their campuses. Marlon encouraged everyone to send their marketing materials because they really do review and study these to look for a good fit. John reminded firms to make their proposals and materials relevant to the client. “Show me what you can do for me and that you’ve understood my needs, it’s not about you if you’re at the table – we know you can do the work, but how will you help us?” John said you must understand the end user and be able to relate to them because it’s your Project Manager who will work with the end user and that’s the relationship that matters most.

Ken questioned the panel about donors – do they have “an edifice complex?” John responded that in general it’s not true for Fordham – they don’t build flashy new buildings. The Rose Hill campus was constructed in the Gothic style and they want new buildings to blend in with the existing building stock. The exception is the Pei Cobb Freed & Partners built McKeon Residence Hall on the Lincoln Center Campus. Michael said “we like starchitects and cutting edge design – we’re called The New School.”

In discussing technology, Marlon talked about cross discipline collaborative maker spaces and the need to make sure interactions are at a high level and not “dumbed-down.” Each department might want their own space, but that’s not practical, so appropriate shared areas are set up. Students then work across the disciplines to create and execute projects such as 3D models in maker courses. The changes in libraries were also discussed; Michael mentioned that they only keep about 10% of their books onsite, the ones that are checked out most often. The rest can be quickly retrieved from off-site storage. And it’s not only libraries that encounter space issues, both The New School and NYU have to house some students far from campus due to a lack of residence hall rooms. They have formed partnerships with hotels and institutions such as the 92nd Street Y to accommodate their students, but these locations are far away from the center of campus life and can be isolating.

Click here to view photos from the Higher Education client panel.

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