CED Frontiers

Flex Studio Campaign

Re-Imagining CED’s Studio Space

Join us in making a contribution to this critical initiative to update Wurster studios as a model of professional spaces with multiple platforms for creativity, research and design collaboration. The new design will feature a flexible furniture system replacing outdated desks and chairs as well as an innovative review space equipped with the latest technology.


As the College of Environmental Design seeks to understand and redefine how people around the world experience the built environment, we are challenged to look at the ways in which our own spaces influence how we work and learn.

CED’s facilities for studio instruction – the hallmark of a design education – are 50 years old. By rethinking the outdated design models that define our current studio environment, we have the opportunity to create 21st century studios with the technology and adaptable design systems that encourage a culture of experimentation and creative interaction. Smart classroom design solutions that are flexible and foster collaboration are critical to educating future environmental design students and preparing them for a world in which cross-disciplinary team work is essential.

Vision for the Flex Studios

The Flex Studios initiative will refashion our existing studio space to provide multiple platforms for creativity, research and design collaboration, and to allow learning spaces to serve as better models for collaborative professional spaces.

The studio redesign will incorporate flexible furni¬ture systems and increased space for collaboration and dialogue allowing for open exchanges during the design process that reflect the challenges and excitement of professional life.

The new design will bring together students from multiple departments and promote a cross-pollination of ideas that will enable students and faculty to think about the built environment through different lenses.


Making the New Studios a Reality

Our goal is to reconfigure and upgrade six floors of studio space in Wurster Hall. The redesign requires replacing outdated furniture, offering ergonomic student workstations, providing functional meeting areas, and expanding digital and traditional pin-up areas. The new studios will include a flexible ‘studio kit of parts’ that can be reconfigured easily and adapted to any number of potential educational contexts.

  • COMMUNAL TABLES to promote casual socializing and discussion around coffee or meals and facilitate collaborative meetings of studio or project groups.
  • TWO PRESENTATION AND REVIEW ROOMS for display and critique of student work, project group discussions, and meetings of small classes and seminars, featuring extensive pin-up space as well as audio-visual display equipment.
  • COLLABORATIVE SPACES for model-building, discussion, and informal dialogue.
  • ARCHITECTURAL SCREENS to controll the light environment.
  • HEIGHT-ADJUSTABLE STUDENT DESKS AND WORK TABLES with lockable storage unit for supplies and computer and ergonomic stool.
  • A METAL GRID ROOM DIVIDER SYSTEM delivering power to each student workstation to which a task light, personal pin-up space, and shelf space for books or model display can be attached.
  • TECHNOLOGY FACILITIES including rendering computers and plotters to allow students to quickly upload images to CED’s cloud rendering farm and plot high-resolution output.
  • A KITCHENETTE with energy-efficient refrigerator, sink, microwave, cleaning supplies, and broom/mop closet.


How You Can Help

The estimated costs to update Wurster Hall’s studios will total $8-10 million. Our goal is to update all studio floors by 2020, but we will start with a pilot program to completely renovate one floor in 2014-15. The cost of completing this pilot floor is $1.5 million.

We have a generous and willing partner in our efforts. Recognizing the importance of this studio redesign project for our students and faculty, the campus has agreed to provide a 2:1 match for any gifts to the College of Environmental Design’s new Flex Studio Fund.

This initiative offers a wide range of naming opportunities for participation and support, ranging from naming a new student workstation, to a new state-of-the art review room, a collaborative studio bay, or even the redesign of an entire studio floor.

Please join us in meeting this critical need and ensuring a first-rate educational experience for our students. Become a part of the lasting legacy that will propel the CED studios to the forefront of 21st century innovation in design and education!