The space opened to the first class of ten students in the fall of 2014. Key elements are a formal seminar classroom that converts into a screening room, a central space with moveable walls suspended from newly added girders, and a sun-filled kitchen-lounge-library area defined by birch plywood cabinets and shelving. Tucked throughout are unexpected maneuvers: a horizontal cut in the wall between the entry and the seminar room is not just a window but also a vitrine; the moveable walls not only slide but pivot, allowing for countless configurations; an odd-shaped niche is outfitted for napping; low coffee tables by Duffy of London quickly metamorphose into symposium-worthy dining tables.
Describing how space meets curriculum, Renfro said, “Its seeming neutrality is a ruse, demanding an interrogation of space and its role in content delivery.” Even the materials are meant to engage students’ imagination. “We really wanted to make each surface ‘curatable,’” said Chris Leong. Metallic painted oriented strand board adds texture to the northern end of the space, and felt covers walls inside the seminar room. In the main space, a sound absorbing felt curtain is backed with shiny aluminum-covered canvas to create a demure or spectacular backdrop as needed for the ever-changing stage for art.