The most striking part of this event was the conversation I had with Garth Rockcastle. He was genuinely excited about the materials and technology planned for the space, not all of which were presented at this event. Some of these materials would allow for the space to transform visually throughout the day, and allow the space to be a physical manifestation of the learning going on in the space (building section, runway, billboard). He spoke of the conceptual layout of peripheral "private" spaces moving towards the central "public" spaces - and how he believed this would enhance learning by encouraging cross-disciplinary inspiration and collaboration. I really appreciate his enthusiasm, and have hopes for the design to accomplish this.
Overall, I was underwhelmed by the renderings, which I find congested and uninformative in terms of what really matters in a building of this type: the classrooms. As an art/design center there will be a variety of classroom environments, studio, computer lab, lecture, but those are not being presented, yet. I can only assume much is still being resolved concerning the particulars of these spaces - but as the Mike Glaser mentions in the video Drexel produced on the project - this building will be a tool to attract the best future students. Knowing whether or not you'll have dedicated workspace on campus can be quite the decider for students. This meeting seems to have been a courtesy to allow for some "public" commentary on the project - and I'm hoping for a fuller reveal in the coming months.
Presentation setup at 3501 Market Street
Exterior rendering of URBN Center
Partial model of 3501 Market Street with planned light-well
A two part video, which distractingly contains a few minutes of Drexel history and praise by Mayor Nutter and Governor Rendell can be viewed here on Drexel's website about the project, including additional renderings of the space.
Rendering of planned light-well