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Gateway was the community newsletter of Pratt Institute published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement through spring 2014. For current Pratt-related news, visit the News page on Pratt’s website.


Illustrious Architect Theoharis David is Celebrated in Sweeping Retrospective

Two Pratt exhibitions celebrate internationally renowned architect, professor, and alumnus

Elementary School, Lemesos, Cyprus
Pratt is celebrating the work of renowned architect, alumnus, and longtime Architecture Professor Theoharis David by mounting two sweeping exhibitions on campus of his work.

Pratt's School of Architecture will present "Built Ideas: A Life of Teaching, Learning, and Action," an exhibition of David's models, photos, and concept drawings. An opening reception on March 1 will feature a talk by David with an introduction by architect Lebbeus Woods.

In addition, Pratt's Department of Exhibitions is presenting "An Architect Drawing," an exhibition of drawings and texts from David's architectural experiences, through September 28, 2012.

Theoharis David has been responsible for the design of sports stadiums, educational and medical facilities, religious structures, extensive residential complexes and private residences, and the creation of comprehensive master plans for major leisure and mixed-use development. His work as an architect and as an educator has been exhibited and published worldwide. He formerly chaired Pratt's Graduate Architecture Program and was faculty president of the School of Architecture.  

Cavo Greco Environmental CenterDavid is a fellow of The American Institute of Architects and the Institute for Urban Design, and serves on the boards of the Cyprus-U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Cyprus Cultural Foundation, and the International Congress of Modern Architects, of which he is a former president.

"Built Ideas: A Life of Teaching, Learning, and Action"

"Built Ideas" is free and open to the public and will be celebrated on March 1 with a lecture by David, titled "Talking About You," in Higgins Hall Auditorium at 61 St. James Place at 6 PM. The lecture will be introduced by visionary architect Lebbeus Woods and will reflect on David's 43 years as a teacher by examining the work of his former students, many of whom have gone on to become accomplished architects and teachers.

"Built Ideas" is curated and designed by Christoph a. Kumpusch, adjunct assistant professor at Pratt Institute. The exhibition includes 19 mostly realized works, including significant works in Cyprus such as sports stadiums and arenas, private residences, urban housing, educational facilities, and hybrid corporate structures. David's New York projects include religious buildings and a proposal for a Greek Orthodox Church at the World Trade Center site. 

"Built Ideas" is made possible in part by generous support from the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Cyprus, with additional support from the Dean's Office of the School of Architecture and the Department of Architecture at the University of Cyprus.

"An Architect Drawing"

Moscow"An Architect Drawing" will feature 55 drawings in four series: Roma, Petra/Jerash, Moscow/St. Petersburg, and the World Trade Center. The Roma series combines drawings from memories of Italy that relate to a specific place or event with descriptive text. The Petra/Jerash series includes ephemeral drawings that portray the passage of time in two Jordanian cities, bringing with it the erosion of memory and erosion by natural forces. The Moscow/St. Petersburg series represents Russia's past and present, including architectural artifacts of an imperial era that have been regilded and are now experienced as contemporary. The World Trade Center series, drawn on a bleak afternoon in December 2001, records a moment of mourning and a void that was filled with the kinetic architecture of reconstruction.

For more information, including gallery hours, click here.

Text: Amy Aronoff
Photos: Courtesy of Theoharis David, Montage E. Bozatli
, Courtesy of Theoharis David


Designing Hope: Industrial Design Alums Lend Expertise to Non-Profits

The co-founders of DH Studio, Sahar Ghaheri and Ashley Thorfinnson, wearing items from their new T-shirt line, Gaggle of Tees. Thorfinnson is sporting a Murder of Crows tee and Ghaheri is wearing the Parliament of Owls.As incoming graduate students, Ashley Thorfinnson (M.I.D. ’11) and Sahar Ghaheri (M.I.D. ’11) were asked by Allan Chochinov, instructor of their first-year seminar, why they had come to Pratt to study industrial design. Coincidentally, they both gave the same answer: They wanted to use design to help people. In this way, the two discovered a shared interest that would lead to DH Studio, their design partnership.

Their bond grew when they traveled together to cover the first Better World By Design conference in Providence, Rhode Island, for the design news site Core77. At the conference they discovered inspiring projects and individuals doing powerful, world-changing work and asked themselves, “Why can't we do that, too?

An internship at Pratt’s Center for Sustainable Design Studies (CSDS) helped them move into social entrepreneurship. But they decided to put a special spin on their venture. “We had only seen pro-bono work of this kind before,” said Thorfinnson. “So we collaborated on a master’s thesis project that showed that socially and environmentally responsible design could be profitable, too.” 

As part of the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation, which helps start up companies build socially responsible businesses, the two were able to found their own firm, Designing Hope, now DH Studio. The company uses a variable pricing model, allowing a wide range of companies and not-for-profits to make use of its services.

Hellosmile’s new clinic in Park Slope brings the brand and service model design to life by transforming the dental clinic’s waiting room into an inviting, engaging space.“We use a traditional pricing structure for most large companies,” said Ghaheri, “and offer different combinations of low monthly retainers and royalty share options to non-profits and new businesses that might not otherwise be able to afford design services.”

One such non-profit is Hellosmile, for which the firm has designed two new dental clinics that are expected to bring in nearly $1 million in revenue once they are at full capacity. “The service model and rewards program we’ve developed with them will help the clinics attract new patients and improve retention rates of current patients,” explained Thorfinnson.

The clinic’s co-founder Farhad Attaie has been enthused about working with them: “DH Studio’s passion for design has enabled Hellosmile to unleash its creativity and tap into our potential for transforming pediatric healthcare for low-income communities in New York City,” he said. 

DH Studio worked with Friends of Tilonia to design throw pillows using hand block-printed fabrics from their existing bedding line.Another contented client is Friends of Tilonia, Inc., a U.S.-based nonprofit organization named for a small village in India, for whom Thorfinnson and Ghaheri designed a line of throw pillows made out of hand block-printed fabric to coordinate with Tilonia’s existing bedding collection. The design of the pillows will help Tilonia access a higher-end retail market, bringing more work and profits to its artisans in rural India.

As Tilonia’s executive director, Ellen Fish, put it, “The principals of DH Studio recognize what it takes to accomplish our mission and vision.” The pillows are currently in production, but the retail display set up in Pratt’s Pop-up! at Brooklyn’s Dekalb Market last fall showed strong initial interest. 

DH Studio’s current bestsellers are Gaggle of Tees T-shirts, a new venture with its own website (http://www.gaggleoftees.com), which encourages visitors to “give to groups that do good.” Gaggle features both T-shirts and totes in durable fabrics at modest prices. 

Most recently, DH Studio has helped the American Jewish World Service devise a design competition, called "Where Do You Give?," which invites participants to reimagine the traditional tzedakah (charity) box found in homes, synagogues, and other community centers.

"We’re looking to hire a graphics or product intern for the summer semester," said Ghaheri, "and we think a Pratt student would definitely be a great fit!"

Text: Adrienne Gyongy
Photos: Chris Barth, Courtesy of DH Studio, Courtesy of DH Studio



Left (L to R): Todd Oldham with Arnold B. Syrop (B. Arch. ’61); Right (L to R) President Thomas F. Schutte and Todd OldhamDesign innovator Todd Oldham came to Pratt’s Brooklyn campus on Valentine’s Day to speak on a subject close to his heart: legendary designer Alexander Girard, whose distinctive career is celebrated in a new monograph by Oldham and writer Kiera Coffee. While covering highlights of Girard’s 50-year career, Oldham showed over 400 slides from the 15 lb., 672-page book, Alexander Girard (Ammo Books, 2011), which contains 2,300 images. The lecture was followed by a book signing at which members of the audience purchased copies of the book.  

The lecture was an Anna and Joseph Syrop Annual Lecture endowed by The Selz Foundation, part of an annual series of lectures given by individuals in interior design. In attendance in the packed auditorium in Higgins Hall were the Syrops’ son and daughter-in-law, Arnold B. Syrop (B. Arch. ’61) and Joanne Syrop.

Text: Adrienne Gyongy
Photos: Kevin Wick


Pratt Named One of The Country’s Top Green Colleges

A sign in front of the Juliana Curran Terian Design Center during Green Week 2010For the second year in a row, the prestigious Princeton Review, an education service that helps students select and apply to colleges, has named Pratt in its Guide to 311 Green Colleges (2011 edition). To compile the 311 colleges profiled in the Guide, The Princeton Review invited 2,000 schools to take part in their survey. Pratt was recognized by the publication for the sustainability-focused education it provides its students and for its commitment to the greening of its campus buildings and grounds.

Pratt is one of only two art colleges to be listed in the Guide. (The other is California College of the Arts.) Pratt’s inclusion reinforces the Institute's reputation as an exemplary institution of higher education committed to sustainability. The Guide cited Pratt’s urban campus as providing “a unique challenge for putting green design into practice…[a challenge] to which Pratt is rising admirably.”

Text: Adrienne Gyongy
Photo: Diana Pau