Open house inaugurates new studios for art students

Ryan Loew

Rusty metals, shop tools and waiters/waitresses serving wine was the setting at the Terrace Drive Heating Plant, the new home for sculpture and graduate studios for the School of Art.

Credit: Beth Rankin

Art will intertwine with industry in the former campus heat and steam building, as the Terrace Drive Heating Plant will now serve as home to sculpture students.

The School of Art held an open house Friday night to celebrate the relocation of its wood and metal sculpture labs, which were originally located on Gougler Avenue.

About 100 people gathered to tour the renovated building, which will feature a metal shop, project studios for students and faculty, and a critique space in three of the building’s four floors.

“There’s a very broad tradition of old, abandoned utility buildings being renovated for use by artists,” Christine Havice, director of the School of Art, said. “There are ways artists have of making things come alive.”

Tom Euclide, director of the Office of the University Architect, said designing the new art building began in the summer of 2003, and the first phase of construction started last winter.

The second phase of the project, renovating the fourth floor of the building, is scheduled to begin in 2009.

Built in 1916, the Terrace Drive Heating Plant closed in 2000 when it was replaced by the Summit Street Power Plant.

Reconstruction of the building included cleaning out chemicals and demolishing old components of the plant, Euclide said. New stairwells and elevators were added.

The building will also provide better ventilation for sculpture students, art instructor Dylan Collins said. Dust ventilation, he said, was a problem at the Gougler facility.

“It gives people a really wonderful and safe environment,” Collins said. “It gives students a great space as well as a great central campus location. It’s a great destination point. So rarely do students get a new facility that has specialized ventilation and specialized display places.”

Sculpture students now have a home closer to Van Deusen Hall and the Art building, Havice said.

“We’ve really got an art neighborhood going here,” she said. “As the weather gets better, you will see people making art outside.”

Contact administration reporter Ryan Loew at [email protected].