The International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) Tech Valley Chapter invited Interior Design students from Sage College of Albany to join them in touring the new University at Albany School of Business building. The tour was led by Tony Alfieri, Associate Principal for Perkins & Will, New York, the project’s architect. The building is currently under construction and due to be completed late Summer of 2013.
The building was fully enclosed with most drywall partitions installed. An office furniture mockup was visible as were finished ceilings. It was interesting for the students to see a building with significant design features in the construction phase and to be able to connect what they had seen in textbooks and presentations to reality. Site safety considerations required dressing in hard hats, safety vests and wearing closed toe shoes, a new experience for our students.
Planning prinicipals for this building were reviewed by our guide. These included a significant role as a thoroughfare and gateway to the campus from a nearby bustop; an enormous challenge. Use of conference meeting spaces by the public and the incorporation of sustainable principles including skylights and a “butterfly” clerestory design. There were also “living room” type spaces to encourage random encounters and interaction amongs students.
Our students benefitted from this visit by seeing a construction site firsthand, and by interacting with other professionals and feeling what it might be like to be ‘part of the team’. Visits such as this one allow classroom learning to ‘come alive’ for students and provide an experience context in which to place that learning.