New ‘Master Suite’ Opens for Expanded Grad Program


The School has recently opened a new facility for its graduate programs that features 4,300 sq. ft of space, a distance-learning classroom, configurable ‘collaboratory’ space, and a cafe area. The new space was designed to support transdisciplinary teamwork. 

The graduate design studio is now an impressive 4,300 sq. ft after an expansion which made structural modifications to the old studio and existing office space. What’s more, the space is not just aesthetically pleasing, the flexible layout also ensures that form follows function. The new studio’s underlying theme is to have a multi-purpose space that facilitates thinking, productivity, and collaboration. The space is smartly organized to include a distance-learning classroom, a kitchen and social cafe area, group-based collaborative space, and individual study areas to support 40 students. Steelcase's latest line of furnishings is used throughout the space. Additional amenities include wall-to-wall whiteboards, 50-inch video monitors, and even an espresso machine for an extra boost of energy after a late night of designing.

The project team was comprised of School of Design faculty, CMU Campus Design, Edge Architects, Mosites Construction, and Steelcase. A crucial part of the redesign meant understanding how students work in order to construct the best space for them. The design was informed by Steelcase's research into higher education learning spaces as well as the School of Design's own self-study. Last semester, before any formal plans were made, graduate design students began documenting everything about studio life and their work process to provide some insight on their needs and culture. These ideas helped develop the plans for what became the state-of-the-art workspace. "The new space is so comfortable. I am really grateful that CMU invested in our experience," said a second-year grad student.

"We have the most inspiring and beautiful garage door in the world here!" remarked second-year grad Eunki Chung, referring to the creative use of a sliding vertical door to divide parts of the room. 

The grad studio will continue to be studied as a model for investigating how students work in spaces. Steelcase and the School of Design are committed to an ongoing research project which is expected to be very influential in informing future workspace designs in higher education.

Date Published: 
Sunday, September 1, 2013
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