Each year, members of the CannonDesign education team head to the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) 2018 Annual Conference to learn about the latest trends in campus planning, and gather insights that will help inform our own designs and plans moving forward.
This year, five CannonDesign leaders – clockwise, from top left: Phil Dordai, Trevor Calarco, Mike Glaros, Jenny Miller and David Coleman – attended and report on their visits here. The conference presented a broad, relevant topic that is top of mind for planners on both the client and architect side: setting the stage for the future of higher education.
Talks explored challenges facing higher education, the impact of politics on campus, and how planners, administrators and designers can adapt to changing generational demands.
A key theme discussed surrounded how campuses are looking for creative ways to insert new or updated buildings within already dense campuses. Right-sizing and right-spacing facilities, finding ways to house multiple curriculums (even if disparate in nature) under one roof, and using data and analytics to find the most efficient use of space are just some of the methods planners are adopting to ensure student, faculty and administrative needs are met.
In a similar vein, campuses are also getting innovative in creating new subtypes of spaces or programs, such as creating new multipurpose student centers/unions that house shared environments. These ladder into the trend of incoming generations being interested now more than ever before in the quality of their experiences on campus. Students want accessible wellness centers, retail, dining, prayer spaces, etc. They want to know that they have spaces where they can proactively spend time, versus reactively finding them in times of need. As a result, planners and designers alike will need to continue to source new ideas for creating these proactive experiences, and give students spaces they want to hang out and spend time in.
A final hot topic of focus was the impact of politics on campus. As with many industries, issues like immigration policies are affecting international student enrollment numbers. And like other industries, it’s predicted that decreases in international enrollment could result in serious consequences for business plans in higher education institutions if those drops in enrollment from last year continue. It remains to be seen what these consequences will entail, but will be important to monitor, and prepare for.
Overall the conference provided interesting takeaways, but more importantly, challenged those that presented and attended to continue to expand their creative thinking within a campus planning framework. It will be interesting to see how these trends and insights are reflected within the physical campus space in the coming years.
As summer break drew to a close, our interns were hard at work putting the finishing touches on the various projects they’ve been involved with throughout their time with us. CannonDesign had close to 45 interns this summer, and as a MarCom intern in our Buffalo office, I had the unique opportunity to interview many of them about their internship experience as part of the Intern to Intern series. Check out Part 1 and Part 3 to hear more of their stories!
Name: Valerie Poutous
School: Virginia Tech
As her fifth year in an Architecture program at Virginia Tech begins, Valerie admits she is more than ready to start working and get licensed. Her summer as an Architecture Intern in our Baltimore office gave her a teasing taste of what the working world has to offer, and she is now counting down the days until she can work full-time. She began college as an engineering major and says that the multidisciplinary nature of CannonDesign has given her confidence in her decision to pursue a career in architecture, as her work in the office has shown how interconnected the two fields are in practice. Though she is serious about growing her career, Valerie also enjoys taking the time to stay active and social. In-between working on projects, you can find her (along with many other members of our Baltimore office) hitting the softball diamond for a weekly company pickup game. They are admittedly terrible, but the local rivalries (in addition to random trips to the beach) have been the highlight of Valerie’s summer.
Name: Max Davidowitz
School: Boston University
Discipline: Mechanical Engineering
As a burgeoning music producer, it is no surprise that what Max Davidowitz values most about his time at CannonDesign is the firm’s ability to meld the creative with the technical. Max is a Mechanical Engineering Intern in our Boston office, and spends his free time creating backing tracks for local artists in Myanmar in coordination with humanitarian and charitable efforts overseas. He wanted an internship that would allow him to combine these creative interests with his engineering background and thought that a design firm would be best suited for his goals. After his experience this summer, he says he “can’t believe how in other firms there are distinct offices for each discipline” as it is the collaborative, multidisciplinary structure of the firm which has taught him the most. Max would like to thank the entire Boston mechanical engineering discipline for being so welcoming and attentive and would also like to give a special shout-out to the construction worker who called him “SpongeBob Skinny Pants” during his first on-site visit.
Name: Jenifer Duong
Office: Washington DC
School: Cornell University
Discipline: Interior Design
Jenifer starts projects and never finishes them — her projects being a (very large) handful of the 1,500+ shows on Netflix, and NOT those assigned to her as an Interior Design Intern in our DC office. Though her television habits say otherwise, her track record as a designer demonstrates a wholehearted commitment to all that she does. As a senior at Cornell studying design and environmental analysis, Jenifer has broken records at school for the longest time in the studio. The time to beat? Seventy-two consecutive hours! Though her time with CannonDesign hasn’t forced her into the studio for half a week (the exception being one fun-filled night making a deadline with her team), the experience she has gained is nothing she could have gotten from the studio at Cornell. A quick glance at her desk may make you think it’s nothing more than an ever-growing pile of samples, but a second look will show Jenifer hard at work creating finish boards and sorting through schedules. Though she appreciates everyone in the office for all their help, she’d like to especially thank Charu Kelkar for all the tips and rides home!
Name: Austin Izzo
School: SUNY Buffalo
Austin Izzo is CannonDesign’s first ever Sustainability Intern, and according to Amir Rezaei, we are very lucky to have had him with us in our Buffalo office this summer. At 23, he is about to finish his second degree, a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University at Buffalo – adding to his Associate’s in Automotive Technology from SUNY Canton. Austin’s internship is unique in that his position is directly tied to a CD project – an update to UB’s Integrated Collaborative Energy and Climate Action Plan, which required CannonDesign to hire an intern from UB to work on the project. He had connected with his supervisor (and UB project leader) Amir months before he even began his internship search, during a career fair event at UB, and credits him as the No. 1 reason why he decided he needed to work at the firm. After a summer of doing extensive research and analysis with Amir, Austin feels the same way he did when they first connected and feels comfortable saying that Amir is 100 percent the data geek he claims to be. When he isn’t creating energy models and learning how to quantify and use energy data, you can find Austin building accessible, solar-powered auto-irrigation garden beds for nursing homes with the UB Engineers for a Sustainable World, or biking around the streets of Buffalo on the Midnight Ride.
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