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 Phillip Rollfing  

"Preservation as Provocation"

Interdisciplinary graduate studio tackles
ACSA preservation design competition



This spring Texas A&M students from the departments of Architecture and Construction Science are collaborating on an entry in the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s 2006-07 Student Design Competition, “Preservation as Provocation: Re-thinking Saarinen's Cranbrook Academy of Art.”

Contest participants will redesign and expand the academy’s library and museum complex, a national historic landmark in Bloomfield, Mich. designed in 1942 by Eliel Saarinen, the renowned Finnish-American Modern Architect. When originally constructed, the Modernist museum and library were widely considered among of the most technologically advanced and aesthetically daring structures in the nation. More recently, a burgeoning collection and escalating visitor traffic have necessitated a major transformation of the original buildings and environs.

The interdisciplinary Texas A&M team collaborating on the ACSA competition includes students in Anat Geva’s graduate architecture studio, Charles Graham’s capstone construction science class, Jim Smith’s design-build graduate seminar, and Charles Culp’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and energy conservation class.

The student teams will be composed of four to five students including one designer from Geva’s studio, one or two undergraduate construction science students, one graduate construction management student, and one or two LEED students.

“Our objective,” Geva said, “is to demonstrate how a collaborative studio can enrich the design process while succeeding in a national design competition.”

Corgan Architects and Turner Construction are sponsoring the Texas A&M team. Student will collaborate with representatives from both sponsors, as well as with faculty from the Texas A&M Center for Heritage Conservation.

This is the first ACSA competition to address the emerging field of preservation design. The challenge, according to the competition guidelines, is not to adapt the buildings to fit current trends in library and museum design, but more ambitiously, to discover how the preservation of these extraordinary buildings can provoke a profound rethinking of current conventions about design. The aim is to envision a new type of library and museum that would be unimaginable without the existing structures.

Learn more about the competition online at:

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Cranbook library and museum complex

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