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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.




Residence Hall Room is Model for Green Living 

At left, a standard Willoughby Hall residence hall room; at right, two views of the 1702-Living Laboratory

A group of Pratt students and faculty, along with staff from the Institute's Facilities Management and Residential Life departments, have created an entirely “green” room in the Willoughby Hall residence hall, to showcase how urban campus living can be made greener and healthier.

The “1702–Living Laboratory” project began in spring 2009 as an interdisciplinary studio course. One year later the students’ visions have come to life in Willoughby Hall, room 1702, a fully articulated, sustainably designed residence hall room, which debuted in August.

The room includes a kitchen, bathroom, and living area renovated using the three tenets of sustainable design—reinvent, reuse/recycle—and choose environmentally friendly and locally sourced materials. 

By having the students work with a real-life client—in this case, Pratt—students not only collaborated between departments, but also with the Institute's facilities management staff. The students were able to communicate to the facilities experts how Pratt students use their residence hall rooms; the facilities staff members shared their expertise on maintenance and operations. Through this collaboration, the group designed a space that is energy efficient, with sustainable design features that have both the students’ and the facilities’ needs in mind. The Living Lab will be monitored and analyzed so the team can gain information for future renovations.

“The Living Laboratory project exemplifies design education at its most relevant – students and faculty from different professions working with the institution to make scalable change that is economically feasible and considers the environment,” says Debera Johnson, academic director of sustainability and director of Pratt’s Center for Sustainable Design Studies, who initiated the project. “Ultimately, this project reduces Pratt’s carbon-footprint, creates a living lab for the educational community, and has given our students a practical experience in sustainable design that will add real world value to their portfolios." 

Willoughby Hall is a 1960s-style building with approximately 300 apartments and relatively low greenhouse gas emissions due to its compactness and minimal air conditioning. One of the key challenges was to incorporate radical design elements and to reduce water, lighting, and energy usage in an already efficient space.The redesign used the original kitchen cabinets and kitchen sink, wooden furniture, and original concrete flooring.

Sustainable features include: energy control and monitoring systems, low VOC paints, and resurfaced cabinets. New furniture designs – including chairs, desks, a modular shelving system and rolling storage bins that maximize storage space and customization – were built from existing wooden residence hall room furniture. Additional sustainable features of the space include the use of fluorescent or LED lighting, energy star appliances, and non-toxic non-off gassing materials and finishes. The space also maximizes daylight through a white-painted countertop designed to throw natural light into the room and utilizes existing wall space to provide additional storage options for students’ personal items. These aspects of the redesign reduce the need for students to bring outside products that are less efficient, use excess energy, and encourage waste upon the end of their stay.

Wood from older chairs was used to make a new, more space-efficient chair. A projected 10 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions was achieved through water conservation methods including low flow fixtures and an apartment-based gray water system that uses sink water to flush the toilets while reducing water consumption and wastewater generation. A Danfoss temperature control valve will maintain room temperature in the heating season and prevent overheating resulting in an estimated five percent reduction in energy usage. The day-lighting, energy efficient light fixtures, and a state-of-the-art Lutron lighting control system will reduce lighting loads by an estimated 25 percent.

 “Learning is a lifelong process and the green residence hall project fostered learning and collaboration between facilities management staff and the Pratt students and professors. We learned from them and they learned from us,” said Tony Gelber, Pratt's director of administrative sustainability. 

The room will be on view, by appointment, to the Pratt community and visiting school groups as an exhibition space and open to current students and campus visitors as a guest room. Visitors will learn about 1702’s sustainable features through an interactive exhibition that will include a video showcasing the renovation and the space’s green features.

The Living Lab project was made possible through Pratt’s Center for Sustainable Design Studies and with partial funding provided by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Anita Cooney, chair of the Interior Design department, oversaw the project with Pratt faculty members Robert Langhorn, Julie Torres Moskovitz, and Corey Yurkovich, along with Steve Brennan from Pratt Facilities, Christopher Kasik, director of residential life, and Tony Gelber, director of administrative sustainability.  The group also received assistance from green consultants Nico Kienzl of Atelier Ten and Anthony Pereira of Alt Power, Inc.   

For more information, please visit Pratt's Center for Sustainable Design Studies (CSDS).

Photos by Sean Hemmerle and Amy Aronoff



Project also creates public access to thousands of historic Brooklyn photos

(L-R) The Brooklyn Public Library and the Brooklyn Museum

(L-R) Pratt Manhattan Campus, home to SILS, and the Brooklyn Historical Society

The School of Information and Library Science (SILS) has received a $971,407 grant to prepare information professionals as digital managers for cultural heritage institutions, a field that is growing as historical institutions grapple with how to preserve, and make public, their hard-copy archives.

The grant was awarded by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and enables Pratt to collaborate with three other major Brooklyn institutions — the Brooklyn Public Library, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Historical Society — on a three-year program known as Project CHART (Cultural Heritage, Access, Research and Technology).

In each year of Project CHART — which launched this fall —  six library science master’s students will intern at the Brooklyn Public Library, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Historical Society to digitize photos, apply metadata such as the image's resolution, and add other digital cataloguing tags to create digital archives of Brooklyn historical photographs.

In addition, through Project CHART, SILS will develop a new Digital Management certificate program that introduces new roles and responsibilities for information professionals in the digital age, and will serve as a new curricular model for digital management.

“We feel honored and inspired to have been awarded this IMLS grant,” says Tula Giannini, dean of SILS and Project CHART director. “It opens up a world of opportunities for developing a cutting-edge curriculum in digital management for cultural heritage institutions, that will prepare our students to assume leadership roles in advancing the digital landscape for museums, libraries, and archives.”

"In addition, this grant means all three institutions will be able to use these valuable digital assets for exhibitions, education, and outreach by providing access to their cultural heritage and history,” Giannini adds.

Project CHART builds on earlier collaborations between SILS and each of the partners, whose historical photographic collections represent their rich holdings.  The Brooklyn Public Library has an extensive image collection documenting Brooklyn in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including photographs of subway construction and early immigrant neighborhoods.

The Brooklyn Historical Society has images from the 1977 Blackout as well as photographs of Brooklyn places and residents dating from the 1800s through the 1970s. 

Images to be digitized from the Brooklyn Museum, one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country, include several documentary photographs, lantern slides, and postcards that feature Brooklyn buildings that no longer exist.

The partners will also produce a Web portal, hosted by the Brooklyn Public Library, which will use social media to provide public access to the digital photographic collections of the three institutions as well as content illuminating the social and cultural contexts and significance of the collections.

 “Brooklyn Public Library is thrilled,” says Linda E. Johnson, the library’s interim executive director. “Project CHART will provide the Library's users unprecedented access to over 5,000 historical photographs from our rich collections and ensure that future librarians are well prepared to manage our digital assets.”

Deborah Schwartz, president of the Brooklyn Historical Society, adds: “The Brooklyn Historical Society is delighted to have an opportunity to work with three of Brooklyn's most distinguished educational and cultural institutions, helping to educate professional archivists of the future, while at the same time creating greater public access to our significant photography collection.”

Arnold L. Lehman, director of the Brooklyn Museum, says “The Brooklyn Museum is delighted to continue its collaboration with Pratt Institute in providing an excellent training ground for their School of Information and Library Science graduate students. We are also pleased to partner with our colleagues at the Brooklyn Historical Society and the Brooklyn Public Library in digitizing an important group of historic photographs of Brooklyn from our respective collections.”

Photos by Diana Pau. Photo of the Brooklyn Historical Society courtesy of Brooklyn Historical Society.




Leaders will explore the future of design education through collaboration


Pratt Institute will bring together representatives from 40 colleges of art and design from across North America to begin building a strategic plan for integrating environmental sustainability education into art and design programs, and for making art and design schools more sustainable institutions.

The Pratt Academic Leadership Summit on Sustainability (PALSS) will focus on three themes—the future of design education, curricula for a new generation of artists and designers, and strategies for organizational change.

The event takes place from September 29 through October 2, 2010 at Pratt’s Manhattan Campus and the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in Manhattan.

Summit fellows have been appointed by the presidents of their institutions to participate in the collaborative effort. They will work together to share resources, offer insights, and present case studies that will develop knowledge, leadership skills, and build strategies for integrating sustainable design into academic practices. The group will also consider academic sustainability and the strain on academic institutions to keep pace in a world that is built on immediacy and access. Each theme will be shaped and challenged through a series of interactive presentations, peer-to-peer conversations, and themed work sessions.

The purpose of the summit is to provide PALSS fellows with the tools and strategies they need to integrate sustainability into their programs and set the stage for art and design education for the class of 2030.

The fellows will then become members of the PALSS Cohort—an ongoing network that will meet monthly via web conference to continue the dialogue regarding the sustainability of art and design education at independent colleges of art and design.

In June 2011, the cohort will publish a report that will incorporate standards as well as broader issues related to the sustainability of higher education. A key outcome of the publication will be to serve as a model for collaboration that can be replicated by other academic institutions and organizations that would benefit from collaboration across traditional institutional boundaries.

“Right now each institution is working on its own and we’re losing valuable time,” said Debera Johnson, director of PALSS, who leads Pratt’s Center for Sustainable Design Studies as director of sustainability. “To ensure a future for art and design education in the new millennia, we need to move forward from a model of competition to one of collaboration and shared resources. The aim of the PALSS summit is to encourage the integration of sustainability into our programs collectively so we can advance the academic dialogue to the next level.”

Bill Barrett, executive director, Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), noted that one of the great advantages of a consortium like AICAD is the ability of similar institutions to work together to address critical issues on its campuses. “I am grateful to Pratt for its leadership in gathering key personnel from AICAD schools so we may all learn from each other and improve our sustainability efforts,” added Barrett.

Ariel Muller, associate director of the summit and a sustainability consultant with a master’s degree in business from Bainbridge Graduate Institute, said, “We have already started a dialogue with the PALSS fellows in preparation for the summit and are impressed with the level of engagement and expertise everyone is bringing to the collaboration. Everyone has a strong commitment to finding new ways to work together and accelerate the process of integrating sustainability into design practices.”

The summit is partially funded by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) grant from the U.S. Department of Education and the Association of Independent Colleges Art and Design (AICAD).

Participants include the following colleges of art and design:

Alberta College of Art + Design

Art Academy of Cincinnati

Art Center College of Design

Art Institute of Boston

California College of Arts

California Institute of the Arts

Cleveland Institute of Art

College for Creative Studies

Columbus College of Art & Design

Corcoran College of Art + Design

Cornish College of the Arts

Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Kansas City Art Institute

Laguna College of Art and Design

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts

Maryland Institute College of Art

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Moore College of Art & Design

Montserrat College of Art

Nova Scotia School of Art & Design

Pacific Northwest College of Art

Parsons The New School for Design

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Pratt Institute

Ontario College of Art & Design

Oregon College of Art & Craft

Otis College of Art and Design

Rhode Island School of Design

Ringling College of Art and Design

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

School of Visual Arts