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Monday, June 23, 2008

Master Plan: Board of Trustees is Prepared to Move Full Speed Ahead


Note: The previous "Full Speed Ahead" statement has been revised to more appropriate language. We thank the college for this.

Not sure what message the Board of Trustees is trying to send, but they released a statement saying they are moving full speed with the current Master Plan. They've also pointed to the City of Pasadena's site for the full application ACCD submitted. There is a lot of information in this application. We've included a couple images of the DRC and site plan below.

A few points to consider:
  • Submitting plans to the city and making an EIR (Environmental Impact Report) is a long and expensive process. It may be the board decided to submit what they had as a maximum plan, which they can always pull back from later.
  • Whatever the Board's intention, they and the school are SO STUPID about communications! What are they thinking? A few days before, Puerner states that they are reevaluating priorities, and then they come out with a statement like this ("full speed ahead") without any explanation of why, or how this relates to earlier statements, or if they are rejecting all the protests. It is a complete slap in the face to the entire Art Center community, and is evidence of the continued complete lack of respect the Board and college has for its constituents.
  • If you look at the description of the DRC on the city's site (check especially Chapter 2, Project Description PDF), you'll see that besides the sculpture-like glass atrium, the building is nothing really special, and is hardly ideal for its intended uses. They've spread the library over 4 or 5 stories, and divided by the artrium. There are just two large rooms for "fabrication and assembly" and "reverse engineering" - whatever that means. Lastly, there is an outdoor "design exhibit area", which doesn't make any sense at all. While it is covered by the atrium, it is exposed to the outside with no security - so anything exhibited there would have to be behind glass. But we make tangible things at Art Center - putting them behind glass makes them remote and is just a terrible idea.
  • The DRC is just under 50,000 sq. ft. So at $50 million, that's $1,000/sq. ft. That's an expensive building. CORRECTION: A anon poster has indicated that the $50M would cover the building cost plus FFE (furniture, fixtures, and equipment), plus an operations endowment.
  • The plan calls for an increase of 400 students, with a corresponding increase of only 10 faculty. Huh? a 40 to 1 ratio?



101 comments:

thirdgen89 said...

Natural light is nice, but it is destructive to pieces of art and should be better designed. Why so many floors? Looks like it is an underground CIA missle bunker in the middle of Utah or something.

This design is a mess.

Please ACCD, do not waste $50m on this thing. Function first, form second.

Ophelia Chong said...
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Ophelia Chong said...
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Ophelia Chong said...

Changing the order of importance:

Phase 1

§ Construction of Sinclair Pavilion (completed in 2001).

o Phase 3

§ Renovation and remodeling of the Ellwood Building;

§ Construction of a 42,226 square foot, two-level addition to Tyler Annex;

o Phase 2 / WHY??? Didn't the Board say "Approval to construct the DRC has not been requested nor given. Last fall, the Board did approve an initial phase to do detailed design for cost estimating and fundraising efforts. Approval of this first phase was contingent on putting appropriate funding in place. To date, funding has not been obtained under acceptable terms, and as a result the design phase has not gone forward." John Puerner

§ Construction of the Design Research Center (DRC) at 48,183 square feet;

§ Creation of new outdoor plazas that will serve as venues for formal and informal meetings and events;

§ Increasing on-site parking from 914 to 1,258 vehicle spaces with the construction of a new five-level parking structure;

§ Construction of 15,145 square feet of additional operations and maintenance facilities;

§ Removal of temporary classrooms made redundant by completion of DRC;

§ Increasing student enrollment from 1,445 to 1,900.

Future of Art Center said...
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Anonymous said...

I feel like we've just been slapped across our collective face.. more so because I read this first thing in the morning.

I agree with thirdgen89: "function first, form second". There's no need for such embellishment. And the "Study Area" (which I'm assuming to be studio space) doesn't look like it'd be able to accommodate many students.

Ophelia Chong said...

"The Master Plan application is one step in a long term process that will provide the parameters for the future design of proposed new development on the campus. The actual design and construction of specific buildings will require further Board and City approvals." ACCD Community Forum

So they are just sending in an application for all phases.

Nathan said...

Understanding that "The Master Plan application is one step in a long term process that will provide the parameters for the future design of proposed new development on the campus. The actual design and construction of specific buildings will require further Board and City approvals."

This latest announcement to move "full speed ahead" is phrased in a manner that leaves me with questions rather than assurances.

A comparable "Education Plan" for addressing the shorter term needs of students (such as, for example only, 1 new milling machine, 3 contracts for studio models over the next 3 years, and 1 a year lease for gallery space to exhibit student studio work in downtown Los Angeles) would assure me a bit more. And like the Master Plan, these would be tangible proposals for people to react to, actual implementation would be pending approval.

Ophelia Chong said...

right, nathan.

there has been no word as yet to the near future implementations to the student requests to the Board.

Plein Air said...

I really don't get this -- on June 25 trustee president John Puerner signs the petition (#1477) that calls for an "immediate halt to the current Art Center Master Development Plan which includes the Gehry designed DRC," then the trustees issue an announcement on the very same day, June 25, that they are going to "move full speed ahead" on the Master Plan.

Maybe Puerner didn't sign the petition and someone else signed his name to it.

Maybe Iris Gelt is being over-zealous in her habit of spinning Koshalek happy-faces, and has taken it upon herself to make an insignificant zoning issue appear as if it were a board endorsement and decision regarding the DRC. If that's the case, she ought to be fired. Last thing we need is a PR person at war with the will of the board and working against the overwhelming sentiment of the Art Center community.

If it's not a case of overblown PR, then what the hell is going on?

Anonymous said...

Looks like there are several areas of "library" segmented on 4 floors...so is ACCD going to hire more staff to manage each of these areas or ask the current staff to run up and down stairs to assist students with books, videos, etc.?

Anonymous said...

This appears to be the board giving the finger to all of us who supported a education agenda.

What other message could they be sending? They don't want to give back millions of dollars earmarked for this project?

Clearly this issues of communication begin at the top.

I don't think we've been loud enough. I guess they are not willing to work together.

JR said...

Mr. Puerner, you need to review all press releases before Ms. Gelt sends them out. Presumably, the "full steam ahead" tag was not what the Board meant, but rather a spin attempt by internal writers anxious to buttress the current President's image.

It's baffling that every conceivable mistake in communications and damage control has been made from the beginning with Nathan's original blog and the suggestion that he retract, to the removal of Nate Young's picture, the fiasco of Rachael's exit, the dismissal of criticism as a few radical malcontents, and now this offensive announcement that seems to negate the board's reassurance to all projects were being reevaluated and reprioritized. Are Art Center's administrators actually the Bad News Bears? Mr. Puerner, please step in and save us. This is too embarrassing.

Ophelia Chong said...
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Anonymous said...

This is outrageous. At best it is careless at most it is completely hostile to the urging of faculty and students that they be included in these processes.

Anonymous said...

By law a non profit organization is accountably to the community it serves. The disregard of the petition has proven that this board incapable of governing itself as a non-profit.

In a corporation this would call for a proxy contest where the CEO looses power because the shareholders vote out the power of the board. It's happening right now with Yahoo because the shareholders are pissed they didn't sell to Microsoft.

This latest fiasco proves that the those in power are without a doubt corrupted.

Perhaps the time has come for legal council.

Anonymous said...

Non Profit distinction from Wiki "most successful NPO's generate a surplus of funds (more income than expenses) that can be held to generate additional income and pay operating expenses when other income streams weaken. With a number of NPO's, the only distinction between them and a for-profit company is that ownership lies in stake-holders, and not investors."

Jason said...

So who are the stakeholders who own this non profit?

thirdgen89 said...

Jason,

The ultimate stakeholders here are the students who pay tuition in exchange for an education.

That is the sole reason this institution exists. Looks like Koshalek was trying to side step this simple equation by trying to turn Art Center into a multi-function institution for conferences, shows, etc. In other words, he was trying to turn this school into something it is not- a museum. In turn, this neglected the ultimate stake holders, the students. Which is why this boiled over and he is been given his walking papers.

No students = no Art Center

Ophelia Chong said...

"The Master Plan application is one step in a long term process that will provide the parameters for the future design of proposed new development on the campus. The actual design and construction of specific buildings will require further Board and City approvals."

Question: Is the City just looking at Phase 2 + 3? And why isn't upgrading the Elwood phase 2? Is it because to do that we have to put classes into a new building? And then renovate Elwood? Whatever happened to the South Campus?

I would've preferred a Press Release on the immediate upgrades to the curriculum before this. And the forward motion on the student's requests of the Board.

thirdgen89 said...

My interpretation of the DRC:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3180/2621887902_c34570091b.jpg?v=0

Ophelia Chong said...
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Future of Art Center said...

Another point about the library design in the DRC. One of the fundamental problems in library design is the expansion and contraction of different sections of the collection. If you break a library up into many physically distinct rooms or floors, you make the management of the collection extremely hard. This is why the Seattle Public Library has a spiral design - so that different sections can expand and contract without concern for splitting them between rooms.

From a description of the design thinking for the Seattle Library

The problem of traditional library organization is flatness. Departments are organized according to floor plans. Each floor is discreet; the unpredictable fits of growth and contraction in certain sections are, theoretically, contained within a single floor.

In 1920, the Seattle Public Library had no classification for Computer Science; by 1990 the section had exploded. As collections unpredictably swell, materials are dissociated from their categories. Excess materials are put in the basement, moved to off-site storage, or become squatters of another, totally unrelated department.

The Book Spiral implies a reclamation of the much-compromised Dewey Decimal System. By arranging the collection in a continuous ribbon—running from 000 to 999—the subjects form a coexistence that approaches the organic; each evolves relative to the others, occupying more or less space on the ribbon, but never forcing a rupture.

Anonymous said...

FOAC,

That's awesome -- the Seattle Public Library is great. Rem Koolhaas could be a worthy successor to Gehry for the Art Center building. His design for the student center at IIT is awesome and pays tribute to Mies and all the great modernism of the IIT.

Anonymous said...

John Puerner is a liar. Either that, or the head of PR needs to be fired for crafting a press release that was so contrary to reality.

You decide.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that people understand the (bad) complexities that surround a building project like this. Remember the counter-petition? Not only was it signed by many members of the architecture community, but more importantly, it was signed by people who would DIRECTLY benefit from it being built.

A lot of business lunches have been had over this master plan. Lots of schmoozing. Lots of understandings made. Lots of possible contractors jockeying for position. City officials being politely "greased", etc. I'll bet that John Puerner's statement last week was followed by a gazillion phone calls made by upset contractors, financiers, big-wigs, friends of Gehry, friends of whomever, etc.

Many of the services surrounding this project will be provided by friends and acquaintences of current board members. As you can see, you don't give up a $50MM project without a fight.

At over $1000 s/f, it means that there is a client who won't nickel and dime over every financial detail. They are probably willing to go over budget to get what they want. It brings out a lot of unscrupulous people.

Anonymous said...

Notice that the announcement of "Full Speed Ahead" was dated Wednesday June 25th (a mere 24 hours after Puerner's statement). But it was not actually released/posted until at least after 5PM on Friday. This release was timed specifically so that people would not react to it immediately.

This shows that either the board meets over the telephone and conducts meetings, or they actually decided this at their regular board meeting, yet chose to keep us all in the dark (on-purpose).

You SHOULD be mad. Art Center's PR chief used to be a SVP at Vivendi-Universal, and knows exactly what theh heck she is doing. This was not just some "mistake" or use of poor judgement. This was deliberate.

Daniel said...

400 new students?! I'm willing to bet most will be tossed into the illustration department, which is already suffering from over-population (as is the rest of the world). Regardless of how many faculty they add, to let in that many more students means they will, once again, lower entrance standards, thus dealing yet another blow to the already bleeding education level. Shouldn't "Quality of Education" be exempt from triage on the battlefield when it comes to schools? I felt it the first term I was at Art Center when lower quality students took up class time asking questions they should have known the answers to before ever applying to the school. No Art Center student, 1st term to 8th should ever have to ask what a Highlight is. And no instructor should ever have to spend 20 minutes describing it. This hurts the other 20 students in the class that already know the answer, as they should.

Congruently, are there any alumni left on the Board? Anyone that knows, loves, and understands what it means to graduate from Art Center College of Design? Koshalek... angered... me when I heard him in the cafeteria misquote the amount for annual tuition by $12,000 (he said it was $30k/yr. when it was almost $43k/yr.), yet I could swear it's his signature on the cute little letters I would get in the mail about competitive costs and all that nonsense. He obviously pays no attention to the traumas tuition costs exact on students and alumni. And it doesn't seem that the other Board members do either. And they don't seem to realize that we end up having to make mortgage-sized payments to our loans each month, some reaching as high as $2,000/mo. And of course, over the course of a 30 year payment plan, Art Center costs over $300,000. This is what the Master Plan is propagating if they don't find some other way to raise the funds, other than tuition increase and more students.

Anonymous said...

If this helps you put things in perspective, I have a $1500 per month mortgage on the home I bought 3 years ago.

- A concerned alumni

Anonymous said...

One thing I see curiously missing from the plan. The word "window".

Seriously, does this thing have even one window?

Ophelia Chong said...

I posted this yesterday on the Art Center Forum Discussions, so far it hasn't been posted:

What happened within 24 hours to from this: on June 24
"One project in particular, the Design Research Center (DRC), has received the most comment. As Richard has discussed in various forums, expanding the College’s mission into more research and development can provide many new possibilities for students and faculty. This is a possibility that the Board generally supports. However, there may be some misunderstanding about the status of this project. Approval to construct the DRC has not been requested nor given. Last fall, the Board did approve an initial phase to do detailed design for cost estimating and fundraising efforts. Approval of this first phase was contingent on putting appropriate funding in place. To date, funding has not been obtained under acceptable terms, and as a result the design phase has not gone forward."

To this on June 25th?
"Board of Trustees is Prepared to Move Full Speed Ahead

Pasadena, California, June 25, 2008 – Art Center College of Design’s Board of Trustees today confirmed its commitment to going forward with its pending application to obtain zoning in Pasadena for its Hillside Campus Master Plan."


So far no answer.

Ophelia

Bambi said...
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Anonymous said...

Rem Koolhaas is the way to go. Forget the past discussion. Let's just move the investment to a new designer that gets people more excited now.

If you want to scrap all the planning and expense of the past nine years, fine. Throw out all the models (or recycle them if possible, Mr. Sustainability and Alternative Energy). Throw out the money that Art Center has spent on lawyers, consultants, architects, and city fees. Throw it all away! Let's see the Board bring more money to the table and make up for all the FUNDING SPENT THAT THEY APPROVED.

Ophelia Chong said...
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Bambi said...

I'm not saying "I told you so". I'm asking how their tactics make you FEEL (now). Do you feel that this was just a bumbling mistake? A rogue architecture office employee? An indifferent board?

Hey, I like it that people assume the best. I usually do too, but I suppose not in the case of Art Center administration-related politics, I've (unfortunately) learned to distrust.

Ophelia Chong said...

to 6/30/08 10:38 AM,

the building will not be built. it will bankrupt the college for one, and it has the potential to run out of money at the half way point. Today in the WSJ, it was announced that the NY World Trade towers is now going to overun more than $3Billion more than planned and will not be completed until the middle of the next decade.

Now if if a whole city can't get the World Trade Center rebuilt, how can ACCD build the DRC?

The Board has a fiduciary duty to the college, and if they approve of the DRC, then they will be responsible for the financial crisis it will find themselves in.

Plus the neighborhood already has lawsuits ready to go to stop the DRC. You are dealing with middle to upper income people around that school that have connections at city hall and with the Board.
The Board will have to answer to them as well.

Ophelia

Bambi said...

anonymous said:

"Throw out the money that Art Center has spent on lawyers, consultants, architects, and city fees. "

You meant: The money that they have SQUANDERED on lawyers, consultants, architects, and city fees.

Future of Art Center said...

Anon 10:38 - So your suggestion is to move ahead with a Master Plan and DRC because we've already spent a lot of money on it? You won't even consider that there is a way to improve the Master Plan? I don't know anyone who is suggesting we not have a master plan, or even that the school shouldn't expand in an appropriate manner. But we do want a plan that actually meets the needs of the school.

We don't need Gehry or Koolhaas - we need an education driven Master Plan, not a pile of boxes with glass over them that doesn't even serve the function (a library) that the building is intended for.

Ophelia Chong said...
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Bambi said...

Ophelia,

I KNOW it will never be built. The local residents have kept Art Center in-check for decades on enrollment and development plans. They are upper to "upper-upper" income people. And they DO have connections to city hall. Art Center would have over 2,000 undergrads if it were not for the neighbors' objections.

But why let the board "play it out" with Art Center's precious financial resources? I'm saying that we shouldn't. Take the board back. Take Art Center back from them. Seriously.

Bambi said...

FOAC:


There are people around us that stand to make money on this project. $50MM tends to have a lot of friends. ($100MM with budget overruns)

Anonymous said...

RE: Koolhaas and Gehry:

I am pointing out that the Board approved the progress on the master plan, including DRC.

Everyone may be in denial now, but the DRC was developed in conjunction with and reviewed by Nate Young and others in Education. Nate represented "Education" in numbers of meetings, so he was involved in programming and refining the building. Say what you will now, but it was approved by various committees, the board, etc. Not just a rogue agent in the architecture office. That would make a good movie, tho.

Ophelia Chong said...

Did you hear that? I think I heard another foot being shot, up at ACCD.

Bambi said...

OK, Nate Young and Koshalek aside. Years of work aside:

We're NOW saying that we simply DO NOT WANT anymore buildings until they fix the sickness that has plagued Art Center for decades. And that sickness is an indifference to out-of-control operational costs at the expense of education and accessibility.

Did they invest time and money? Sure. TOO DAMN BAD. We want them to knock it the hell off. We want them to stop.

Build a $50MM building and you've got to furnish it, heat it, cool it, maintain it, staff it, put more students IN it, etc. The bigger the monster becomes, the more it eats.

All this talk about "sustainability" pertains to more than just cups and architecture and building materials and light bulbs. It pertains to ECONOMIC sustainability too. EDUCATIONAL sustainability as well.

The board just said "fuck you" to everyone.

thirdgen89 said...

Daniel-

I spoke with Kit Baron last week and tried to illustrate the point that when I am done, this education will cost me well over $170K. I also pointed out that based on industry pay scale averages, the tuition cost does not correlate with a proper return on this investment.

"Well, no one here has ever graduated with that much debt."

***I told her that the paper they sent me estimated a max cost of $27K PER TERM. Multiply that by 8 terms. How much is that?

"Well, that is a personal decision for each person"

----
"I am not sure where you are getting your formulas for these calculations."

***From the mandatory web thing I had to do to get a Stafford loan that the government makes a student do before taking on the debt. I told her the calculations for my income needed to service this debt after wards was $175K per year, right after I graduate. Add in the interest, then this becomes a very very very expensive education. I mentioned that is the kind of money one would spend on Law or Medical school and will see a much steeper income ramp than most design careers will.
-----

I am very hesitant to spend this much money on an education when the people that are supposed to help guide through the process are so vague and gloss over certain aspects of this important decision. They did give me a nice "gift grant" for the first couple of semesters which I greatly appreciate, but I am still not convinced.

Plus, with the latest move by the admins with this master plan BS, I ask myself this:

WHY SHOULD I TRUST ART CENTER?

This place really needs to get its act together because from my point of view, these games are souring my impression of this once great school.

I still have not given up on ACCD yet, but my biggest vote is with my wallet.

-Dylan

Ophelia Chong said...

Well, it's 11:43am on June 30th and they still haven' posted my comment on the ACCD/forum about the DRC and Board. I did post it on a Sunday night, but I am guessing that someone is working at ACCD today, somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Ophelia,

I've not barked the issue up, but Art Center has systematically stopped posting all of my questions (for about a week now). I was very polite in how I asked them, but I was also very direct. All of my questions await moderation, and numerous posts of "others" have indeed been posted (and even answered).

Art Center administration is heavily controling the appearance of the "dialogue" to be in their own favor. They only post the "softballs" thrown at them.

Future of Art Center said...

Anon said:

"I am pointing out that the Board approved the progress on the master plan, including DRC.

Everyone may be in denial now, but the DRC was developed in conjunction with and reviewed by Nate Young and others in Education. Nate represented "Education" in numbers of meetings, so he was involved in programming and refining the building. Say what you will now, but it was approved by various committees, the board, etc. Not just a rogue agent in the architecture office. That would make a good movie, tho."

But so what? What are we in denial of? Nate is gone. Whoever those committees were, they got it wrong. We're not blaming the architecture office, we just want a plan that works. You seem so fatalistic - the decision was made, end of story. But that's exactly what has been wrong with this school for so long. That's why nearly 1500 people signed the petition. That's why faculty, staff, students, and alumni have be so miserable for so many years. You seem to want stability, but that train left the station already. The school is unstable and only positive change and real dialog will right this ship. (okay some bad mixed metaphors -- maybe the rogue agent can get on the train and then sail the ship!).

Anonymous said...

I was kidding about the "rogue agent" remark I made. I was talking about how such a plan was filed with the city just 1 day after we'd been told the plan was shelved. I suppose it WAS shelved (for 24 hours).

So, the big question, was Koshelek "shelved" so that a few squeaky wheels can hurry up and graduate? Will he then be taken back off the shelf (like the DRC plans)?

Anonymous said...

As an alumnus, I'm deeply disappointed that Art Center seems determined to fawn before the fine art and architectural community rather keeping its focus on the students who are its purpose. This money should be spent on improving educational facilities in a way that reflects the concerns students have expressed: for better and greater numbers of faculty, not grand, ego-gratifying facilities.

Anonymous said...

Consult your leader: John Puerner. He's the rogue agent who can right the ship. Who the heck knows what's happening now except for the chair of the board.

Anonymous said...

I hope Koshshalek has use for the faded "Art Center Alumni" license plate holders I'm about to send him. I have no use for them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:50,

I'm sure that people would love to ask John Puerner. But he never answers the emails people send to him.

Anonymous said...

You know it is amazing how fast everyone is to jump to conclusions, dismiss information, and completely ignore facts. Did any of you do any research at all, seriously? The master plan was submitted to the city in 2006. It has taken this long for the city to do its due diligence on the submittal. You all jump to conclusions to what is needed and what is proposed. Here is an idea. Why don’t you all split up into two groups and do some real analysis and research. One group can go to architecture school and understand building construction; another group should go to urban planning school and get a clue about zoning and the building process within the city, county, state and county. That way we can actually talk about how and what the best way is to proceed and bring the school up to date with the least amount of inconvenience to the current students. Because right now it is pathetic on how much you all know about any of these processes.

Anonymous said...
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Ophelia Chong said...

Dear Anonymous / to 6/30/08 1:54 PM

Why don't you clue us in, since you are probably part of the planning dept.

Enlighten us, since the college isn't.

Ophelia

Ophelia Chong said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

We're all like a yard full of chickens with our heads chopped off. The board knocked off the president. The CAO resigned. The board has gone back to their respective cities. We're still here, stuck watching and waiting to see what happens.

The only person in a leadership role still in place, who hasn't yet resigned yet, is...John Puerner. He is answerable and must be accountable.

Write to him! You may not get an answer, but at least he'll know people are still agitating for a resolution/resolutions. He's the only one who could have made this decision.

Ophelia Chong said...
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Anonymous said...

So in other words, the board really does not care what other people think of their little "plan".

I suppose, 10 years ago, people could not have givven a turd about the master plan. Frank Gehry sounded as cool as anyone back then. But the board has taken a very "Marie Antoinette" attitude in moving forward.

You all talk about getting ready for change in the world, but what abou the chnage that is happening right here? Right here, we're telling you that Art Center needs to knock it off and get back to sanity.

Gehry has had plenty of buildings built. He'll get plenty more built. I know that all of you planning and architecture department people want to have a Gehry building on your resumes, but you know what? Tough sh**. Some buildings just don't get built.

Hey, I have an idea. Go start a petition to "save modern architecture"!

Anonymous said...

johnpuerner@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

FOAC is right. The Seattle Public Library is a model worth emulating. If Seattle can have Rem Koolhaas, why can't we have a brand-name architect for really cool space too?

Caltech has added some nice buildings recently too. Can we go back to the idea of exploring a joint-campus with Caltech? That would really differentiate Art Center from other art and design schools and build on the legacy from the 1970s when artists collaborated with scientists. Our product and trans departments would benefit most definitely from working with engineers. Better to start sooner than later...

Anonymous said...

Merging with (or tucking ourselves INTO) a pre-exsting, super-stable educational institution is probably the best thing that could ever happen to Art Center. Art Center's student population makes it a really high cost-per-student operation to run.

Merging with a Cal-tech would bring the REAL dollars to Art Center, and it would force the "academic nobodies" that work in administration to reveal themselves and get tossed out. Win-win for Art Center.

Anonymous said...

Besides, wouldn't you like to say that you went to "Cal-Tech's Art Center College of Design"? I know *I* would.

Future of Art Center said...

To anon who posted "You know it is amazing how fast everyone is to jump to conclusions, dismiss information, and completely ignore facts. Did any of you do any research at all, seriously? The master plan was submitted to the city in 2006."

What we're responding to is the announcement on the official ACCD forum site that states: "Art Center College of Design Confirms Commitment to College’s Hilllside Master Plan
Board of Trustees is Prepared to Move Full Speed Ahead"

That went out the day after Puerner stated that " All of these projects, including the DRC, are now being reevaluated and reprioritized by the facilities and finance committees of the Board."

Tell us exactly what conclusion we should draw from this? And are you saying that just because the Master Plan was already submitted, we shouldn't criticize it? We may not be architects and urban planners, but we are students and educators, and know a thing or two about what works for art and design education. Or is the point here to build buildings regardless of their utility?

Anonymous said...

This is all a matter of PR. The "Education First!" PR team wins! Who can argue with education as a first priority at a college. Kudos and first place to you, Education Firsters!

And the other PR team seems to have dropped the ball on getting the word out on the DRC and the master plan. The Board, however, knew all about it. So did the department chairs and the senior staff. Some of the staff probably knew, as did some of the faculty and the neighbors. The funny thing is, the master plan is a long-term plan to provide needed education facilities! Perhaps a better title for the rival petition would be, Education First and in the Future! Because the master plan is exactly about planning for the future.

Koshalek was hired to raise the profile of the school and to get buildings done. That was the board's objective. Some people were interested in growing some departments. Koshalek did not come up with the idea of growing the school, but the master plan COULD accommodate that if needed or wanted in the future. Rather than going (again) through all the City's review procedures and fees, it was decided to do a 25-year plan. Give the future leadership options for growth, if need be.

It's about the future: that's what the Board was advocating. But long-term planning requires commitment. And the board folded. The short-termers won. Dedicated space will remain rare. Space will still be in demand. Some machines and equipment will still not fit into the building. Some classes meant to be on the hill will need to be shifted to the South Campus.

Does "education" win then in the end?

Future of Art Center said...

To Anon 3:22

Can you explain why we need the DRC? Adding classroom, studio, and shop space makes sense, and that can be accomplished with the extra 50,000 sq. ft. added to the Tyler addition. Again, no one is advocating zero building - we just want a sensible plan that takes educational needs into account. And that doesn't cost $1000 per sq. ft...

Anonymous said...

Regardless, Anonymous 3:22, it sounds like the board is going to do what the board is going to do. Why they would non-renew Koshalek and then 24 hours later forge ahead with the "as-is" master plan makes no sense. That is, unless they also changed their mind on the non-renewal as well.

Puerner (or the board) publicly lied once already. What's to prevent them from doing it again?

I think that they are so enraged at all the negative publicity that they have now simply chosen the "screw you guys" approach.

Alternate Energy said...

Everyone please pause for a moment, and let's try to get a little perspective. The recent Master Plan press release indicates the following:

Zoning approval will allow Art Center to plan for upgrading existing facilities...

It is unlikely that the board is seeking zoning approval to move "full speead ahead" with the DRC, but they DO need the approval to move forward with other changes, parking, etc, and upgrades to the Ellwood building.

The Master Plan linked to from the press release is an old version, and has been on the city's website for years. Construction of the DRC was "phase 2" when the the plan was submitted, but it is unlikely still the "next step" considering John Puerners recent June 25 statement.

So there's been some misrepresentaton going on here and should be blamed on the misleading and sensationalist headline of Iris Gelt's release:

Art Center College of Design Confirms Commitment to College’s Hilllside Master Plan

Board of Trustees is Prepared to Move Full Speed Ahead


Is she intentionally trying to incite discord by positioning an innoucuous bureaucratic zoning approval as a major Board decision on the DRC? I suspect this is more about her zealotry to bias press releases in favor of RK's agenda, than it is a betrayal of student concerns by the Board.

However, the fact is -- we just don't really know! If the Board is guilty of anything at this point, it is that they have not yet responded to the community and addressed the destructive confusion created by Gelt's sensationalistic press release. It would be very helpful if they did.

Ophelia Chong said...

To 6/30/08 3:22 PM,

Can you explain what is going into the DRC? and what software the students will be testing in there?

And why in this day and age where everything is online and wireless, and students carry their laptops with them, do they or would they sit at a stationary computer to do their work?

Future of Art Center said...

Here's what I can't figure out. What event caused the posting of the "full speed ahead" notice? The files on the Pasadena site were last changed 4/10/08. Did the board make some new decision? Was something approved/disapproved by the city? Was something new submitted to the city? Was someone smoking crack? Seriously, it really is very strange and ambigous. Perhaps Koshalek can explain it at the meeting tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

FYI -- it's my understanding that the $50m includes FFE (furniture, fixture, equipment) and an operations endowment. So, no, as of now, it's not $1000/sq.ft. But the way that material costs and petroleum is going, who knows exactly?

The shops/studios are about full-scale prototyping, transdisciplinary studio classrooms and fabrication and assembly workshops using digital technology. It's supposed to accommodate changes in teaching -- dedicated studios, collaborations, etc.

Ophelia, I haven't heard anything about testing software. I think it's about testing new materials, an expansion of the CMTEL. But if you're on campus tomorrow, you can ask people about that at the community forum.

Anonymous said...

*FFE -- that should be furniture, fixtures, equipment
(There will surely be more than one fixture.)

Future of Art Center said...

Thanks for the info about FFE etc. - the original post is updated to reflect this.

"Digital technology" is pretty ambiguous. Sounds like rapid prototyping. It also sounds very product/trans oriented. It all feels a bit driven by a sort of "cool" factor rather than hard thinking about what kind of facilities the range of programs at ACCD really need.

Sad that it has taken this long for detailed information like this to get out to the broader community. A real exchange at the educational level could have led to a more appropriate building program. And there is plenty of blame to go around for why this did not happen. Ultimately though, the culture and governance of the school has been so far off of what it could be to engender real collaboration - for that the buck stops at the Board and Koshalek.

Ophelia Chong said...

Why they wanted to "go forward with its pending application to obtain zoning in Pasadena for its Hillside Campus Master Plan."

On page 14 of the 2.0 Project Description:

2.7 Approvals and Intended Uses of the EIR
• Master Development Plan;
• Historic Preservation and Design Commission Reviews of Ellwood Building alterations;
and
• Design Commission Review of final building designs and landscape plans for new
construction

Anonymous said...

I suppose you submit for the whole enchilada and be prepared to compromise. I'm not even opposed to leaving that ugly Ghery design in the "plan" drawings. Why spend more money to take it out?

But what I'm opposed to is the "full steam ahead" rhetoric. Either Gelt was the rogue, or the board was.

Ophelia Chong said...

To 7/1/08 8:05 AM

I agree with you.

Bad wording. "Full Steam Ahead"

Bad writing or a poke in an open wound, it's inexcusable when we are all on edge.

Ophelia

Qwendy said...

I would encourage the students at Art Center to go on strike after the next debacle in this "debate," which I would imagine will be after the Admin placates the students in the meeting today and then goes back on their words, as usual.

In France, students strike to get their points of view across, and it works. There isn't a school without students in the corridors, and you could get some serious national attention.

Bon courage.

Qwendy said...

About the "sculptural glass atrium" -- will the building be self sustaining in terms of energy? Otherwise the total hubris of the very idea of designing a glass structure like this, creating a hothouse, in Pasadena of all places, is like a joke. It shows how little the idea of energy conservation and sustainability really matters to the people making these decisions.

Anonymous said...

To the next person that uses the term "Sustainability":

If any of you utter this buzzword just one more time, I swear, I'll revert to calling the internet "Information super-highway". I might even bore you with such out-of-vogue terms as "digital age".

Don't push me. I'm serious!

Ophelia Chong said...

An answer on ACCD/forum today:


Ophelia Chong:
June 29th, 2008 at 9:29 pm
(Posted on the site July 1, 10:25am)

What happened within 24 hours to go from this:
June 24th, 2008
” One project in particular, the Design Research Center (DRC), has received the most comment. As Richard has discussed in various forums, expanding the College’s mission into more research and development can provide many new possibilities for students and faculty. This is a possibility that the Board generally supports. However, there may be some misunderstanding about the status of this project. Approval to construct the DRC has not been requested nor given. Last fall, the Board did approve an initial phase to do detailed design for cost estimating and fundraising efforts. Approval of this first phase was contingent on putting appropriate funding in place. To date, funding has not been obtained under acceptable terms, and as a result the design phase has not gone forward.”

To this?
June 25, 2008
“Pasadena, California, June 25, 2008 – Art Center College of Design’s Board of Trustees today confirmed its commitment to going forward with its pending application to obtain zoning in Pasadena for its Hillside Campus Master Plan.”
#
Community Forum Moderator:
July 1st, 2008 at 10:25 am

Hi Ophelia,
There is no discrepancy between the two announcements. If you read it carefully, you will find that the June 25 announcement states that Art Center simply plans to move ahead with its application to obtain zoning in Pasadena so that the guidelines are in place should the College wish to build anything within the next 25 years.

If this is still unclear, please contact Patricia Oliver in the Educational Planning and Architecture office.

Alternate Energy said...

the June 25 announcement states that Art Center simply plans to move ahead with its application to obtain zoning in Pasadena

Hogwash -- the June 25 announcement was a deliberate manipulation, meant to portray the trustees as agressively pursuing development of the DRC and master plan, using terms such as "Confirms Commitment" and "Full Speed Ahead."

This coy and condescending answer to your question only illustrates that the administration's "Community Forum" has no credibility as a source of accurate and objective information.

Anonymous said...

People think that the announcement was an "aloof" release. It was far from aloof. It was carefully crafted.

Anonymous said...

You all are completely off point. The DRC is dead, and the master plan is gutted. The Board has no spine.

There's no conspiracy, just human beings at work, as vulnerable and imperfect as we all are.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Future of Art Center said...

I agree that the DRC is dead - this is now pretty clear from several sources. I'm not sure the master plan was gutted - but certainly it is up for reconsideration. Was the board spineless, or did it listen to a clearly dissatisfied college community and make a prudent move to reevaluate?

The more important point is that there are finally some major and essential changes going on at the school. That even the good ideas (and there are some) in the Master Plan were temporarily sacrificed is well worth these larger changes. The educational structure and decision making process is undergoing a major change, greater transparency is (slowly) coming, and education will hopefully become the major driver for everything else at the school.

In the end, there are real opportunities for a productive collaboration between education and planning.

Alternative Energy said...

There's no conspiracy, just human beings at work, as vulnerable and imperfect as we all are

Yeah, I guess Marketing and Communications has just had a run of showing its human imperfect side -- retaliation against Nathan, photoshopping out Nate, censoring the Community Forum, and now trying to inflate an insignificant zoning request into some sort of Board imperative on resurrecting the full-speed-ahead Master Plan...

Anonymous said...

Hooray for the Board of Trustees! On behalf of Art Center, they have shown the leadership to derail 10 years of planning and fundraising efforts!

Goodbye to fundraising at Art Center. You all have done a great job at generating negative PR and Marketing for the College. Good luck with getting more money for scholarships. Forget about adding more space at the school before 2018.

Most of us (and them) will be gone by then, so hey, who cares?
Whatever happened to intergenerational leadership and responsibility?

If that's full speed ahead, then we're in for a very S L O W ride.

Anonymous said...

Two thirds of all current scholarships at Art Center are supported by the rising tuition. Anonymous 1:19 says that we can kiss scholarships goodbye. Kiss WHAT goodbye? We PAY FOR THEM OURSELVES ANYWAY.

If we have a situation where 2/3 of all scholarships are funded by the students, then we have a FAILURE of a fundraising staff. Ten years work down the drain? How about ten years wasted?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7/2/08 10:49 AM,

This is exactly what a Ponzi scheme looks like. It cannot sustain itself for too long before it will collapse.

What good will this master plan be without any students?

Ophelia Chong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ophelia Chong said...

to 7/2/08 1:19 AM

I just joined the Legacy Circle and pledged $1000 towards a dedicated scholarship. On top of the ten years I have been volunteering at ACCD, I am now also giving assistance through a donation.

Also I will promote Legacy Circle to my network of alumni.

I believe in ACCD's future, and with the open communication between students, faculty and administration, the college will be stronger than ever.

Ophelia Chong

Anonymous said...

OK, I stand corrected:

2/3 + $1000 from Ophelia. I guess that makes it "slightly less than 2/3" now.

Or, er, uh, over half, yeah, over half.

Ophelia Chong said...

7/2/08 4:07 PM

If you are a student, then one day after you become an alumni, maybe you can help. If you are an alumni, step up.

Ophelia

Anonymous said...

you go girl! if you can drum up alumni support for accd scholarships, it will be truly awesome. finally, some positive energy. thanks!

take that, all you haters.

Anonymous said...

Opehlia, asking me to blindly donate to this organization is like asking me to write a check to the Pentagon "just to show my support".

Fix a few problems, and I'll donate.

What's been fixed? Nothing yet.

Ophelia Chong said...

7/3/08 9:57 AM

The Legacy Circle is for scholarships ONLY. You can designate the major or the scholarship you want your money to go to.

Membership in the Legacy Circle is $1000 a year and donors designate how they want their scholarship directed: to Public Programs, General Scholarships in the undergraduate program, or to the undergraduate / graduate program of your choice.


Ophelia

Anonymous said...

They have now answered what percentage of scholarships are funded from tuition sources (approx two thirds). Let's see them answer how many of the school's students are curently on scholarship, and of all that are, what is their mean and median amounts.

Tuition is like a black hole at Art Center. Strong-sucking and out of control. Let's see them reduce the tuition to something far close to the actual cost of attending.

Future of Art Center said...

The statement that used to say "full speed ahead" has been revised to more appropriate language. Thanks to the college for correcting this and recognizing the community's concern over this issue:

http://www.artcenter.edu/forum/announcements.php

*** REVISED 7/2/08 ***
Art Center College of Design Confirms Commitment to College’s Hilllside Master Plan Zoning Application
Design and Construction of Specific Buildings Will Require
Further Board and City Approvals

Pasadena, California, July 2, 2008 – Art Center College of Design’s Board of Trustees today confirmed its commitment to going forward with its pending application to obtain zoning in Pasadena for its Hillside Campus Master Plan.

The Master Plan represents Art Center’s long range vision over the next 25 years. Zoning approval will allow Art Center to plan for upgrading existing facilities, incorporating new technologies, and accommodating new approaches to design education that are essential to ensuring its competitive edge as a leading educational institution.

The Master Plan application is one step in a long term process that will provide the parameters for the future design of proposed new development on the campus.

Art Center College of Design (www.artcenter.edu) is a global leader in art and design education. Since its founding in 1930, Art Center’s alumni continue to have a profound impact on culture, lifestyle, and important issues in society. Art Center offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of art and design disciplines, as well as public programs for all ages and levels of experience.