September 25, 1998 Vol. III, No. 3

Designs for New AMC Buildings Win College Approval

Plans Calls for Main Facility Near Former Fine Arts Building Site and an Expanded Art and Design Center

Design presentations for the new Arts, Media, and Communication Building and the expanded Art and Design Center have won general approval from the college's administration and faculty.

Architect Robert A.M. Stern, the new dean of the Yale School of Architecture, recently presented a design for a 65,000-square-foot Arts, Media, and Communication Building that will house the departments of communication studies, journalism and radio-TV-film.

"Robert Stern did exactly what we asked for: that is, he designed a building that should meet our instructional needs and at the same time make a positive contribution to the look of the campus," said AMC Dean Phil Handler.

The site will be near the former Fine Arts Building that was demolished after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The new building should cost less than $200 a square foot for a total of about $13 million. Construction is slated to begin next year, with the opening set for 2000.

The design takes the shape of an "L," with the main wing extending on an east-west axis to the south of Sierra Hall. That wing will be capped by a diagonal extension that rises three feet from the edge of the building's roof-and that tips its hat, so to speak, to the Oviatt Library on the opposite side of the quad.

Although the main wing will be only three stories, it will rise as high as the four-story Faculty Office Building to the east. Part of the new structure's facade will be brick-"but not the same color brick" as in the Faculty Office Building, Stern noted to murmurs of approval from the audience.

The north-south wing will be two stories, including some high bay studios for film and television production facilities.

"The design complements the surrounding buildings and yet has an elegance and beauty that make it distinctive," Handler said.

Most classrooms will be on the ground floor of the north wing, with seminar rooms on the second floor and faculty offices and computer labs on the third floor of the main wing. One end of the main wing will house a 130-seat theater for screenings and Readers Theater performances.

The art department will be located in an expanded Art and Design Center and in the current Speech Communication Building. A presentation of the schematic design for the new center also won raves from department members.

The complex will more than double in size, from 23,000 to 55,000 square feet. It will consist of new buildings that partially surround the existing complex on the north, south and east sides. The buildings will include an administrative wing, an art gallery, studio and classroom space, computer labs and a lecture hall.

The new buildings will emphasize light by placing light towers at regular intervals and by using immense, roll-up, window-like doors. The complex will be built of a lightweight steel frame and include sections of plaster, cement and wood to warm the overall high-tech look.

Budget for the addition is about $4.2 million, for a per-square-foot cost of $115 to $120, said Peter Devereaux of the architectural and engineering firm Fields Devereaux, which is designing the complex. Its opening is expected in January 2000.

-John Kroll

September 25, 1998

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