February 3, 2013

Milstein Hall Wins Prestigious Award for Building Design

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The American Institute of Architects has recognized Milstein Hall — along with 10 other buildings in the United States and Canada — with its most prestigious honor, the 2013 Institute Honor Award for Architecture.

According to the AIA jury’s comments, Milstein, which opened in August 2011, recieved the award for its “emphasis on transparency” and its “transactional qualities” in its physical design.

The AIA jury further stressed that Milstein’s studios “tolerate and celebrate the creative clutter created by students,” according to its press release.

Milstein, designed by OMA and KHA Architects, bridged the space between historic Rand Hall and Sibley Hall and added 47,000 square feet of space to the College of Architecture, Art and Planning. The building includes 25,000 square feet of studio space and a 250 seat auditorium, according to the College of AAP website.

The top floor of Milstein, which hangs over University Avenue, provides studio space to second through fifth year architects and functions as a flexible atrium for student collaboration, according to Prof. Vince Mulcahy, architecture.

Students and professors echoed AIA’s opinion of Milstein, saying that the space encouraged collaboration between students.

Daniel Toretsky ’16 said that Milstein’s open studio allows for community building.

“Milstein has no partitions. The entire community works on one floor so you can see and hear everyone. It really ties together the architecture school,” Toretsky said.

Mulcahy echoed Toretsky’s sentiments, saying that students benefit from having an open space that allows them to see and discuss each others’ work.

“[Milstein] becomes a nexus of activity which you can feed on . … You’re not working in a room but in a studio, learning from people, having conversations with them,” Mulcahy said. “It’s a huge component of our learning process.  The students here are amazing and you want to make the most of it.”

Milstein was originally constructed to meet a pressing need for space in the College of AAP, according to Mulcahy. The studio in Rand was cramped, and professors and students alike felt constrained by the lack of translational space between the lecture halls of Sibley and the Rand studio, according to Mulcahy.

“We never had a space like this before. [Milstein is] interstitial in the way it creates new connections, campus connections. It’s really a connective building,” Mulcahy said.

Although Milstein is a state-of-the-art building, the space is one that allows for student creativity, according to Toretsky.

“When Milstein opened, it was a glistening new building. In order to create a community inside of this building, someone ha[d] to kick over a can of red paint,” Toretsky said.

The rest of the University walking by and underneath Milstein can also observe the day-to-day workings of the College of AAP through the transparent glass windows of the studio, according to Mulcahy. Bus riders can also peek into the undergound exhibition space from the University Avenue bus stop, Mulcahy added.

Original Author: Noah Tulsky