PARSONS re: The Alumni Magazine of Parsons The New School for Design Fall 2010 Urban Ecologies
re:D (regarding Design) FALL 2010 For more: www.red.parsons.edu
Urban Ecologies Urban ecologies combines the methods and insights of environmental science with those of social science and applies them to urban settings in an effort to make cities healthy and viable. As the world’s population becomes increasingly urbanized, the effective management of cities’ interconnected systems has assumed critical importance. Three articles presented here —“Design and Urban Ecologies,” “Facing the Sun,” and “Community Centered”—explore this issue from theoretical and applied perspectives. Be part of re:D! Your stories, work, and collaboration support the magazine and the Parsons community. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Give us your input on re:D at www.newschool.edu/survey.
News & Events
Portfolio Students reflect on peers’ work
esign and Urban D Ecologies
Facing the Sun Introducing Parsons’ entry for the Solar Decathlon competition
Community Centered Radhika Subramaniam & Nevin Cohen present Living Concrete/Carrot City, an exhibition and programming
Pathways in Pictures Luis Berríos-Negrón ’03
Alumni Message Parsons DC Alumni Scholarship
Alumni Profiles City Intersections
Connected Remembering Stephanie Bradshaw ’58
Thank You In Good Company / Our Supporters
Cover Story Marcos Chavez’s class creates re:D’s cover
Red-Handed Carrie Mae, MFA ’09
NEWS & EVENTS
News & Events
NEW PROGRAMS in URBAN studies and design
homes & routes
In Parsons’ forthcoming degree programs, the next generation of designers, planners, scholars, and policymakers will learn to apply cross-disciplinary approaches to address the challenges of globalization and sustainability in an urban context.
Faculty hires reflect Parsons’ commitment to urban studies and design-led research. Aseem Inam has held posts at MIT, UCLA, and the University of Michigan and practiced architecture in a number of cities. An expert in urban studies and crisis management, Inam has led development projects in India, the Caribbean, and the U.S. Miguel Robles-Durán has taught architecture, urban theory, and urban design. He co-founded Cohabitation Strategies, a Rotterdam-based foundation and cooperative for architecture and urbanism that employs design in urban areas characterized by uneven development. Rama Chorpash, the newly appointed director of BFA Product Design, brings expertise in manufacturing and materials innovations. His award-winning interdisciplinary studio has designed for firms such as Herman Miller, Hewlett-Packard, and Swatch Lab New York.
Students from the schools of Art and Design History and Theory (ADHT) and Art, Media, and Technology (AMT), led by Jilly Traganou, Jessica Irish, and Eric Nunez, took part in Learning Through Design, a class in which they developed a program for the Lower Manhattan Arts Academy (LoMA). ADHT and AMT students guided high school seniors in the creation of a game to explore “place, space, and community,” enabling them to experience design thinking and hands-on collaboration. The Parsons group designed Routes and Homes, an embodied game played on an outdoor game board by LoMA students. They also created lesson plans for LoMA seniors to use in teaching younger students, and a publication sharing with the community what the students learned.
MS Urban Design Ecologies (under development) In this studio-based graduate program, students learn new forms of urban design practice based in a synthesis of urban ecologies and urban studies. Students learn interdisciplinary methods to use in designing for progressive social and environmental change within complex urban societies and ecosystems. MA Urban Design Studies (under development) Through study of transdisciplinary research methods, students acquire a critical understanding of urban design as a scholarly discourse and practice involved in the transformation of cities. The program prepares students for careers in academia, media, museums, and public policy agencies. BS Urban Design (launched in fall 2010) This program is studio-based, embodying the civic mission of The New School through a mix of liberal arts, design theory, and professional practice. Students explore design in relation to change such as global urbanization and migration, heightened environmental awareness, and new technologies. For more on these programs and MS Design Management and MA Design Studies (both in development): www.newschool.edu/ thinkparsons.
See page 03, image 14.
go with the flow
DYE IS CAST
The Illustration and Foundation programs made this past April Fool’s Day an interactive event in the Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries. Students took turns creating a projected Exquisite Corpse-style digital triptych. Students sketched source images on Wacom digital tablets in response to words called out by Foundation director John Roach . Other students added to the drawings, connecting them across the three panels. Roach and Illustration director Steven Guarnaccia deemed the event a success as a creative and community-building exercise for Parsons.
Parsons alumni Christopher Nesbit ’08, Georgeana Ortiz ’09, Duncan Tonatiuh Smith ’08, and Ida C. Benedetto ’09
Product Design presented FLOW, a juried body of student work that appeared at the 2010
BS Urban Design director Victoria Marshall created the Urban Dyeing course to “educate students about plants, gardening, garden design, public space, and participatory models of engagement.” Students tested fabrics and planters, germinated seeds, and in May planted on campus using containers made of recycled materials and in collaboration with the Union Square Partnership. Plants were chosen for their suitability for dyes and for their positive effects on biodiversity. Students in Laura Sansone ’s Natural Dyeing class will use the plants to color wool and yarn from the Hudson Valley.
See page 02, image 05.
traveled to Tbilisi, Georgia, in April to present their theses alongside students from European and postSoviet countries in the Tbilisi International Regional Festival. Sponsored by Florence’s Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation and the Tbilisi State Academy of Art, the festival explored how an intercultural exchange of art and design could promote deeper understandings of cultural heritage and sustainable lifestyles worldwide. The Parsons team, led by Lydia Matthews, dean of Academic Programs, took top honors, with Smith winning the Grand Prize and Nesbit First Prize. See page 03, image 13.
International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF). Three mobile
tables designed by the School of Constructed Environments displayed a collection of pieces inspired by the various meanings of flow, including a pitcher created using ancient instrumentmaking techniques, a kit for collecting stem cells from blood, a table fashioned by termites, and a multidirectional pot. See page 02, image 09.
See page 03, image 18.
NEWS & EVENTS
EVENTS Headspace 2010 01 Virtual Beauty filmmaker JANE NISSELSON, MoMA curator Paola Antonelli, and architect Toshiko Mori chat at “Headspace.” Stephan Weiss Transdisciplinary Design Lectures 02 Natalie Jerimijenko, MFA Transdisciplinary Design program director Jamer Hunt, and Nigel Snoad in a post-lecture recap.
Fashion in Film: New York 03 Amy Fine Collins presenting a film; John Epperson with Klute actors and costume designer; series organizer Jeffrey Lieber with Judith Thurman; film critic ARMOND WHITE .
Photography Lectures at Aperture 04 Spencer Finch fields questions after his talk.
Foolish Corpse 05 Foundation and illustration students and program directors JOHN ROACH and STEVEN GUARNACCIA collaborate on an evolving digital triptych projected in the Aronson Galleries.
Parsons Fashion Benefit 06 Dr. WILLIAM K. FUNG of Li & Fung Limited, VERA WANG, dean JOEL TOWERS; JASON WU. Derek Lam and jenna lyons at Parsons reunion weekend 07 SIMON COLLINS, LYONS ’90, and LAM ’90 after their panel discussion before a capacity crowd.
Fine Arts Lectures 08 KURT KAUPER presents his work. 06
Flow at ICFF 09 BFA Product Design’s booth at ICFF in the Jacob Javits Convention Center; an eventgoer tries out HYEONIL JEONG’s Caterpillar seat; Mademoicell, Chelsea Briganti’s stem-cell collector. uperheroes and Super-Villains at S the Art Directors Club 10 KATIE TURNER’s illustration of a character created by a young participant at an 826NYC writing workshop.
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center 11 In Reimagining Orozco, Enrique Chagoya responded to themes of Jose Clemente Orozco’s 1930s murals at The New School; student-made products responding to the show’s themes were also exhibited. Parsons 2010 Show 12 Work from each of Parsons’ schools was on view in the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center.
NEWS & EVENTS
Parsons Visits Tbilisi 13 Tbilisi, Georgia, which hosted members of the Parsons community for a festival on cultural tourism. Homes and Routes 14 Parsons’ JAMES RO ’11 designs a game with Brittany Thomas of Lower Manhattan Arts Academy. LVMH Art of Craftsmanship Revisited on Governors Island 15 Student-designed garments were displayed alongside the artisanal work that inspired them at an exhibition on Governor’s Island this summer. The project, organized by LVMH in partnership with Parsons’ Fashion and AMT schools, concluded with a panel at The TimesCenter.
ILLUSTRATION STUDENT WINS MACY’S POSTER DESIGN CONTEST 16 The whimsical design by GARRETT PRUTER ’10 advertising the July 4th fireworks brought the recent grad recognition and a $10,000 prize. 16
Nate Berkus Visits Fine Arts 17 Nate Berkus met with fine arts students and selected pieces for his clients and his own collection. Urban Dyeing Class 18 Working with Victoria Marshall and Pascale Gatzen, students plant seedlings of species used to dye cloth.
news & events
year’s VISITORS ON premieres CAMPUS
Barnes & Noble recently introduced items featuring the work of BFA Illustration students Camden Dunning and Katie Turner ’10. Dunning embellished a laundry bag with a line drawing of a laundromat washing machine accompanied by the words “Dear Mom, Wish you were here.” Turner’s illustration Cute Boys adorns one journal; Dunning’s humorous interpretations of the ubiquitous NYC paper coffee cup decorate another. Parsons was one of three U.S. art and design schools selected to contribute designs for the product line, available at Barnes & Noble.
In June, the Council of Fashion Designers of America bestowed four of its prestigious scholarships on Parsons students. The winners included Carmen Chen Wu, who received the $25,000 Geoffrey Beene Design Scholar Award, the CFDA’s top student honor; Yuen Chi Lo and Lauren Burnet, each of whom was awarded a $10,000 scholarship; and Paul Negron, who received an Honorable Mention CFDA Scholarship. Past winners include renowned Parsons alumni
This year, student work appeared in off-campus venues near and far. BFA Photography student Justin Wolf participated in the Tate Modern’s tenth anniversary show, No Soul for Sale, as part of the K48 artist collective. BFA Photography students Kristina Williamson and Andrea Bakacs both took part in Jeunes Talents 2010, a cultural tourism project featuring photography shows in LA and France. In New York City, the Art Directors Club hosted a show for 2010 illustration graduates, and 2010 fine arts graduates showed their work at The Kitchen, a nonprofit experimental art space.
gallery crawl The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center showcased the winners of this year’s Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Designers in ReSource, an exhibit on view this summer. Re-imagining Orozco (June 12–Sept. 25), on view in the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery, revisited José Clemente Orozco’s mural cycle A Call to Revolution and Table of Universal Brotherhood, commissioned by the university in the 1930s. The murals are the only public commission by a Mexican artist that remains in New York City today. Engine 212: Activist Interiors (Sept. 15–25) explored the importance of interiors in civic and urban life. The exhibit featured the work of AAS Interior Design students who collaborated with Brooklyn activists to transform a defunct FDNY building into a community and arts center. Living Concrete/Carrot city, an exhibition and programming series about urban agriculture, turned the center into a gathering place for communities to explore urban planning, activism, and economic justice (Oct. 1–Dec. 15; see pages 16–17). See page 02, image 11.
Peter Som, Jack McCollough
of Proenza Schouler, and Chris Benz.
art for oprah In May, Oprah Winfrey’s design expert, Nate Berkus, visited the Fine Arts program to tape a segment for her special anniversary episode. Under the guidance of MFA program director Simone Douglas, nine students from the undergrad and graduate programs presented work to the Oprah crew to explore the process of buying and selling student art. Berkus walked away with three new student pieces— two for clients and one for his personal collection.
combined forces For Superheroes and SuperVillains, a creative writing workshop sponsored by 826NYC and the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company, young people conceived comic book characters with the help of Parsons illustration students. Steven Guarnaccia, director of the Illustration program, noted that the collaboration offered the students professional practice and “the sheer pleasure of illustrating the wildly imaginative work.” See page 02, image 10.
See page 03, image 17.
fast company This summer, Parsons faculty members and alumni were recognized for their creative endeavors. Faculty members Igor Pusenjak ’00 and Zachary Lieberman ’02 and alumna Natalia Allen ’04 were among the top 50 of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business 2010. Faculty members Pablo A. Medina and Lucille Tenazas were selected to take part in Design Journeys, an exhibition of work by designers of color in the AIGA, the international professional association for graphic designers.
activated minds This summer, a team of Art, Media, and Technology faculty and students, led by BFA Design and Technology program director Ben Bacon, MFA ’06, partnered with the technology company AMD on a month-long workshop for students in Beijing’s Dandelion Middle School. Dandelion’s 500 students designed and programmed games using Activate!, a curriculum developed by PETLab at Parsons. Activate!, a gamebuilding tool, sharpens science, technology, engineering, and math skills and increases awareness of global environmental issues.
Recent speakers on campus included painter Biljana Djurdjevic; “Headspace” participants (Majora Carter, Chandler Burr); Stephan Weiss Lecture Series speakers (ANNA VALTONEN, Andrew Blauvelt); Fashion in Film presenters (John Epperson, Tom Kalin, Evan Calder Williams); “AfterTaste” presenters (Claudy Jongstra, Robin Guenther); Career
Services Lecture Series participants (Vena Cava); Visiting Fine Arts Lecture Series speakers (Alejandro
Cesarco, Nicole Eisenman); SCE Lecture Series speakers (Renny Ramakers, Wolfgang Feist); participants in Parsons Photography Lectures at Aperture (Alex Prager, Sarah Anne Johnson); “Design and Existential Risk” speakers (Robin Hanson, BRUCE STERLING); and guest lecturers in Brian McGrath’s Theory of Urban Form class (ALBERT POPE, PAOLA VIGANO). See pages 02–03, images 01–04, 07–08.
riverside reno Graduate students in the School of Constructed Environments’ Design Workshop were challenged to renovate the historic but dilapidated 101st Street Terrace facilities in Manhattan’s Riverside Park. Students redesigned the much-used space to serve the diverse needs of everyone from Little Leaguers to park rangers. Construction is slated for completion in early 2011.
ENVIROAWARE BFA Product Design student Joseph Saavedra ’10, won the first-place Kölner Design Preis. His project, Citizen Sensor, is a wearable device that collects, interprets, and shares data about environmental pollutants. thesis.jmsaavedra.com
AMPLIFY: Creative and Sustainable Lifestyles in the Lower East Side The Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability (DESIS) Lab at The New School recently held workshops and an exhibition at the historic Henry Street Settlement. The exhibition, AMPLIFY: Creative and Sustainable Lifestyles in the Lower East Side, is part of a project funded by the Rockefeller Foundation’s NYC Cultural Innovation Fund 2009, which focused on grassroots sustainability and social innovation efforts on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Installations on display ranged from community gardens to collaborative support services for older adults, each demonstrating how design-based action can help urban communities address everyday needs. An oversized interactive map highlighted local sustainability efforts. Examples of social innovation projects from around the world were also on view. Lara Penin, an assistant professor in Parsons’ School of Design Strategies and a co-organizer of AMPLIFY, along with Eduardo Staszowski and Cameron Tonkinwise, described the exhibition as part of a two-year research project that is establishing The New School’s leadership in the growing field of design for social innovation. www.amplifyingcreativecommunities.net
portfolio Students from each of Parsons’ schools were assigned to select end-of-year work by their peers, giving them a chance to reflect critically on creative work outside of their own practice. ADHT student James Ro ’11 describes the experience below. I was invited to represent the School of Art and Design History and Theory (ADHT) and introduce the feature as a student from a school in which curatorial expertise is cultivated. First-year courses taught at ADHT equip us to enter an academic dialogue that challenges traditional disciplinary boundaries and methodologies and addresses social, political, and economic concerns. The critical thinking skills we develop apply to many disciplines, as evidenced in students’ curatorial statements. Stepping outside of my home school to evaluate colleagues’ work and the underlying methods and theory made me appreciate theory as the basis of a design education. The exercise, which involved self-reflection, also helped me grow as a student and future designer.
James Ro, BFA Architectural Design ’10, BA/BFA ’11, comments on NINA TORR, BFA FINE ARTS ’10 Nina Torr’s work explores cultural messages about the indefinite boundary between fine art and craft. At first, Torr’s creations seem to be implements from a pre-industrial past. On closer inspection, the viewer notices that the “tools” have curious features, which raise questions about their purpose and hint at purely aesthetic functions. Do they exist merely to delight? Or to perform mysterious tasks? The ambiguity of their functions seems to reflect the evolving distinction between craft and fine art. Should aesthetic judgment be applied with equal weight to fine art and craft? Is craft synonymous with fine art, or is it defined by utilitarian or commercial qualities that set it apart? Art historians explore these matters to enrich our experience of work that, like Torr’s, operates on a number of levels.
Simeon Poulin, MFA Design and Technology ’10, comments on ANDREAS JOSEPH, BBA DESIGN AND MANAGEMENT ’10 I chose this website [Just Scene] because I immediately recognized its significance for journalism. The Web can play an important role in democratizing the media by facilitating what Andreas Joseph calls “citizen journalism.” It gives people a platform not just to share stories with an audience but also to communicate with and learn from other citizen journalists. I also appreciate the amount and depth of the research Joseph conducted to gain a thorough understanding of the realm in which the product would live. He explored not just domains and precedents but also the potential market value of such a product. Coming from a design and technology background, I am interested in learning about the technology Joseph will use to realize his project and in viewing a working prototype. Mettle by Nina Torr
Just Scene by Andreas Joseph
Augmented Shadow by Joon Moon
Kiara Walker, BFA Fashion Design ’10, comments on JOON MOON, MFA DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY ’10 Augmented Shadow is what you get when you’ve found the harmonious balance between technology and narrative. This project evokes wonder and sparks the viewer’s imagination. Without words, it conjures up ideas about utopia, life, death, truth, conservation, and the real versus the virtual. A great designer can make a product that is more than just an object; he or she can create something with which people can interact. Designers have a responsibility to build bridges between disciplines, ideas, and people. I admire Joon Moon’s Augmented Shadow for its use of narrative to encourage critical thinking without dulling the imagination. Moon inspires viewers to create their own narratives and pass them along, just as the figures in Augmented Shadow carry light into their own dark surroundings.
Carrie Walker, MFA Lighting Design ’10, comments on ANNA CHOI, BFA FASHION DESIGN ’10 Anna Choi’s fashions celebrate the human figure in fluid line drawings made of fabric. Sophisticated construction underlies what appears at first to be simple designs. I chose a piece in which draping along the body highlights the model’s form and contrasts with the collar’s sharp outline. Choi expertly uses color—wisps of pale orange in a field of yellowgreen, for example—to add interest, accentuate movement, and frame the bodice. A necklace in a related but neutral hue completes the composition and balances the action of the translucent skirt. I see even the decision to pull the shirt hem below the vest as justified. Nothing about this piece seems arbitrary or contrived. Choi’s work represents the process-driven methodology that Parsons students are strongly encouraged to employ.
Design by Anna Choi
Alyssa Davis, BBA Design and Management ’10, comments on JOSÉ VIDALON, M.ARCH ’10 Architecture demands a great deal. A building should be both functional and aesthetically pleasing, elegantly housing and supporting the activities for which it was designed. Architects design under a variety of constraints while creating work that expresses their aesthetic vision. José Vidalon’s Memorial Museum for the Victims of the Political War is a visual embodiment of his idea of constructed memories. The decision to make the memorial a connecting bridge is highly imaginative; the design contrasts with the static form of most memorials, which often makes them seem emotionally remote. Vidalon’s design is both functional and deeply moving. The layout of this memorial makes it a timeless and unforgettable place.
Memorial Museum for the Victims of the Political War by José Vidalon
Design & URBAN ECOLOGIES by Joel Towers
Urban ecologies are constituted by and constitutive of human-natural relations within spatially heterogeneous urban environments. Resilience is a measure of health within an ecosystem and is a good predictor of the long-term viability of the system. Understanding the resilience of cities as ecosystems is critical to their future. This perspective represents an important shift in the kind and scale of problems that design practitioners will be expected to address. Parsons embraces this enlarged vision of design’s potential, and our engagement with urban ecologies is helping Parsons lead in design education and practice. Parsons has a long history of environmentally reflexive design. Over the years, faculty members have incorporated the study of sustainable design into their teaching in innovative, diverse, and provocative ways. Building on this commitment and expertise, I joined the faculty at Parsons in 2003 as the first director of Sustainable Design and Urban Ecology. At the time, establishing Parsons’ position at the junction of social and ecological design was critical. Pairing sustainable design with urban ecologies, Parsons and The New School signaled a commitment to finding innovative approaches to environmental problems instead of merely reacting to the mainstreaming of green, or ecodesign, methods. We knew that teaching the most advanced techniques in sustainable design was a clear requirement for contemporary design education. But Parsons and the university had higher ambitions. Leveraging our unique position within New York City and as a division of a university with a remarkable social science and public policy faculty, we sought to activate design as a means of understanding, assessing, and transforming socionatural relations. We also challenged ourselves to advance a new social imaginary—a new set of values and pedagogy to guide our work—in the midst of one of the most complex constructions on the face of the planet: the ecosystem known as the city. Ecologist Steward Pickett, writing on the Baltimore Ecosystem Study website, addresses the importance of urban ecological research and describes cities as complex ecosystems encompassing social behaviors and organizations along with natural systems. Underscoring the need for this kind of research, he points out that most of the U.S.
population now lives in metropolitan areas. In Pickett’s view, “The integrated studies to examine biodiversity, nutrient and energy flow, ecological structure, and dynamics of all these things through time have not been done.… The social, hydrological, atmospheric, and built components of the systems must also be included. All the disciplines required for this complete ecological understanding of an urban area have not been pulled together in a focused study before. This is cutting edge research.”1 Pickett and his colleagues are undertaking this kind of work in Baltimore. Parsons faculty participate in that work, and we are bringing it to NYC. Writing on urban design, architectural historian and critic Kenneth Frampton explores the far-reaching implications of this research for design. He invites designers to play a broader role in finding solutions to urban problems by addressing systems instead of only built forms. Infrastructures such as transportation, waste disposal, and land reclamation represent other targets for design interventions.2 Urban geographer David Harvey offers perhaps the best articulation of the challenge and importance of urban ecologies: “The integration of the urbanization question into the environmentalecological question is a sine qua non for the twenty-first century. But we have as yet only scraped the surface of how to achieve that integration across the diversity of geographical scales at which different kinds of ecological questions acquire the prominence they do.”3 These insights into the nature and importance of urban ecologies call for a paradigm shift in design education. They also point to an expanded role for designers, who are uniquely well positioned to grapple with the challenges of urban settings. Parsons is committed to supporting research and design education in this emergent area. Joel Towers is dean of Parsons and a founding partner of SR+T Architects.
1 w ww.beslter.org/frame2-page_1_3.html#2 (accessed September 6, 2010). 2 Kenneth Frampton, “Toward a Dynamic Mediatory Approach in the Field of Environmental Design” (September 2002). 3 David Harvey, Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference (Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 1996).
by David Sokol With the goal of creating new models of affordable sustainable housing, the Parsons-led Empowerhouse team is drawing on expertise from across The New School and beyond for its entry in the Solar Decathlon 2011 competition Every other autumn since 2002, the Solar Decathlon has transformed the National Mall in Washington, DC, into a parade of homes of the future. The U.S. Department of Energy invites 20 college teams to take part in the international competition, in which they design solar-powered homes, build them on the Mall, and operate them as residences for ten days. Participating in the competition is an ambitious and demanding undertaking for the student-led teams. This year, Parsons The New School for Design has taken up the challenge for the first time, with an entry called Empowerhouse SD, created in partnership with Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy and Stevens Institute of Technology. Empowerhouse SD already has significance far beyond the competition. The project serves as a lab for the interdisciplinary methods evolving throughout The New School and the participatory service-design approaches practiced at Parsons. It unites ongoing efforts at the university to apply design solutions to complex matters of economic and environmental sustainability at all scales—in this case, housing. These interconnected goals for Empowerhouse SD will give the home another life after the Solar Decathlon, when it will be transported from the Mall to the Washington, DC, neighborhood of Deanwood. There, it will join a companion structure built by Habitat for Humanity, DC, in partnership with the DC Department of Housing and Community Development. The structures will form a two-family house for local residents. Parsons’ entry is radically innovative in a number of ways:
its ultimate function as a permanent dwelling, its mode of construction, the inclusion of a local community in the planning, and its green and site-specific features. Whereas other demonstration houses are taken on tour or displayed on campus after the Solar Decathlon, Empowerhouse SD will be the only submission to house families in DC. Parsons’ involvement in the Solar Decathlon dates back four years. Joel Towers, now Parsons dean, and Laura Briggs, chair of Sustainable Architecture in Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments (SCE), began exploring participation in the competition as a way to showcase the expertise in sustainable design being developed at Parsons. They also saw the project as a means of advancing the collaborative work of the Architecture and Lighting Design programs, both of which are now part of SCE. Parsons faculty were generally enthusiastic about the contest but did have some reservations. “Solar Decathlon projects cost millions of dollars,” says Alison Mears, outgoing chair of Practice-Led Research in Parsons’ School of Design Strategies (SDS) and incoming director of the undergraduate Architectural Design and Interior Design programs. “We’re really interested in seeing whether this technology can be applied in an affordable and replicable way.” Parsons’ desire to treat Empowerhouse SD as a prototype for affordable housing led to a partnership with Milano. Teams from the two schools have worked together before, consistently dominating the annual JPMorgan Chase competition, in which contestants
01. An early rendering of the Empowerhouse SD house interior, showing the modular furniture in context. 02. Students in Lyn Godley’s Product Design class designed window boxes for growing vegetables, as part of Empowerhouse’s ideas for sustainable living. 03. Site of the second Empowerhouse structure, in the neighborhood of Deanwood. The house, to be built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, DC, will be joined to the one built for the Solar Decathlon to create a two-family home. 04. This prototype combination screen and bench, developed in the Product Design class, features photovoltaics to collect solar energy; the screen and seat afford privacy and comfort 05. Product Design students developed plans for modular furniture, such as the shelving, bench, and counters shown here—items that could be built by local high school students using readily available materials.
develop real estate proposals with nonprofit partners for underserved communities. Once gestated, Empowerhouse got underway in fall 2009 at breakneck speed. Students identified developer partners and development sites in the District of Columbia, then submitted a first-round proposal to the Department of Energy in November. Although there was no guarantee that the project would make the short list, The New School and Stevens dedicated several classes to the Solar Decathlon for the following semester. In January 2010, the students received the go-ahead to submit a second-round proposal; in April, they were accepted as contestants in next October’s competition. The students have combined their skills to impressive effect. Briggs points to the team’s adaptation of a standard thermodynamic model, revised by Parsons architectural design students and Stevens mechanical engineering students, as an example: “They developed a script that connects the 3D design software Rhino to that program, so that variations in form and surface can be evaluated against building performance. The engineers who developed the thermodynamic model have not yet dovetailed it with 3D software.” In the spirit of participatory design, the Empowerhouse project involves Deanwood residents as full-fledged teammates. “The worst mistake you can make with communitybased projects is parachuting in with all the answers and not learning from the community itself,” says John Clinton,
a professor who is on the Milano management team. Community members’ input has shaped key aspects of the design, he explains. For example, Deanwood residents selected the fruit and vegetables to be grown on the duplex roof, which will help meet the community’s nutritional needs. The complexity of the project and the priority placed on accommodating local needs demonstrate the importance of an interdisciplinary approach. Because each building is the nexus of many natural systems and social phenomena, the design requires experts of all stripes. “In order to create a shelter that provides its own energy, we needed electrical engineers. In order to maximize interior daylight without sacrificing solar harvest, we needed lighting designers. In order to create a building that meets its residents’ requirements, we needed input from the community,” Briggs explains. Alison Mears supports this networked approach to design, adding, “If there were easy answers, creating affordable sustainable housing wouldn’t be such a challenge.” She notes that green features of the design offer benefits to the surrounding area as well as the site itself. By incorporating a system to accommodate stormwater that takes into account soil makeup and topography, for example, the Empowerhouse SD design can dramatically reduce runoff and promote absorption of precipitation draining from a wider radius. The harvest of the roof garden could feed other households. Typically, Solar Decathlon teams combine solar-powered
06. A recent rendering of the two conjoined houses: Empowerhouse SD, the Solar Decathlon entry, and the house built on-site in the Washington, DC, neighborhood of Deanwood. 07. Product Design students created tableware that can be carried easily, in accordance with accessible design practices.
07 08. A floor plan of the current design for the two-family house. Efficient heating and cooling systems and application of Passivhaus principles will allow the structure to meet its own energy needs. 09. Students in Alison Mears’ Urban Communities class designed a system to collect water from the roof and use it to irrigate a garden.
10. Lighting design and architecture students referred to photos recording available solar energy throughout the year to position and design the house and its elements. 11. A current drawing of the house that Habitat for Humanity will help build for two Deanwood families, who will be selected in the spring of 2011.
and other active technologies with passive sustainability strategies. For Empowerhouse SD, students studied techniques of Passivhaus, the use of design features that rely on site orientation, insulation, and ventilation to meet stringent energy standards. They point out that Empowerhouse SD’s two modules are energy conserving on their own but perform optimally when conjoined, an arrangement that minimizes heat loss. The passive heating and cooling methods of the design make it possible to use much less energy-intensive mechanical systems. This configuration lowers space and heat operating costs by 85 percent; the money saved could be invested in family necessities and support the local economy. A project of such complexity requires a great deal of coordination. Briggs’ Architecture and Social Practice class serves as a meeting place for team leaders and provides continuity for the work. The students also share their work four times each semester and document their progress on a multimedia server. One of the main responsibilities of the Milano students is to help manage the array of participants. “You can say we’re upping the ante from the Chase competition, because this project runs over many semesters and it will get built,” Briggs says. She and her colleagues are striving to improve the process, and they’re taking notes: The team’s strategies for collaborative work will be applied in the Urban Design program SDS is launching this fall and the master’s program in sustainability Clinton is developing at Milano.
The cross-disciplinary approach of the Empowerhouse project explains much of its significance to Parsons and The New School. The next issues of re:D will examine the many disciplines working together to research and create the structures and their components. Part 2 introduces students from Mears’ spring 2010 course Urban Communities, who investigated Deanwood’s dynamics to facilitate collaboration between Empowerhouse and the local community and city officials. Subsequent issues will explore the way the team tailored Empowerhouse SD’s spatial configuration, engineering, and marketing to meet community needs and benchmarks for sustainability. Empowerhouse has already become a model for interdisciplinary practice to address challenges of the urban context. The house on the Mall is impressive on its own. Making the house a home for a community that is uniting around matters of environmental, social, and economic justice is an achievement on a grander scale. The team’s next mission is bolder still: to develop the lessons from Empowerhouse SD into models for architecture and urban planning that promote affordable sustainable housing in the United States. www.newschool.edu/solardecathlon David Sokol is a New York-based writer and contributing editor at Architectural Record and Surface magazines.
Community Centered A year into her role as chief curator and director of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Radhika Subramaniam is ready for things to get a little messy. Envisioning the center as a place where people interact with ideas and one another rather than merely observe, Subramaniam sees tantalizing opportunities to bring together research areas, communities, and notions of the role of a gallery. She uses the analogy of dinner guests gathering in a kitchen. “You’re there cooking, and everyone has ideas about what goes in; everyone is talking. It’s a bit untidy, but that’s where you want to be: where people gather.” Kitchen conversation is an apt metaphor for the programming series and exhibition she and environmental studies professor Nevin Cohen, a specialist in urban agriculture and planning, have curated for the center. Subramaniam and Cohen spoke to re:D about Living Concrete/Carrot City and the way it engages a diverse community in dialogue about urban agriculture. re:D: You’ve described the Living Concrete/ Carrot City programming series and exhibition as a “triangulation of design, food and water systems, and communities.” Please elaborate. Radhika Subramaniam: Living Concrete focuses on design interventions—not products as much as design-led solutions— that address communities’ access to and control of food and water and the way that affects the health and habitability of urban areas. It explores how small-scale, local food production and distribution systems in cities quietly but powerfully challenge the agro-industrial complex.
Nevin Cohen: It’s about more than just growing food; it’s about the social interconnections fostered by food production in the city. What does it mean for communities to take control of the food they need? In some cases, it means producing the food themselves locally; in others, lobbying for public policies to improve the food they have access to. Radhika and I knew that the focus of Living Concrete should be civic urban agriculture; through networks of urban food production, we can actually build community and address systemic inequities. RS: The show is a catalyst for discussion rather than purely
exhibitory—it’s a platform for public pedagogy. Every Wednesday, we’ll host a public talk or panel on topics like local farming, food production, design and social change, policy, and the role of the university in food studies and systems. There will be a public reading and screening space, a place for people to meet and talk.
re:D: How did this collaboration come about? RS: It began in conversations with Nevin about bringing Carrot City,
a traveling exhibition on design and food production, to the center. I realized that across The New School a great deal of research is being done on food, the environment, and cities. Hosting Carrot City and building on it was an opportunity to generate conversation and bring
together people who might not otherwise be talking to one another. I use that model from my own background in anthropology; I like that ability to talk at an everyday level about bringing about change.
NC: A number of interdisciplinary programs across the university address urban agriculture. For instance, I’ve taught a joint Parsons-Environmental Studies course for which students designed ways to make the New School food system more sustainable. They had to learn what sustainability means, as well as the limitations of that concept; research the food system; and come up with a design solution. re:D: How does the center put a curricular mission at the heart of the curatorial process? RS: The show will present course-related projects including
BronXscape, a roof garden that students designed and built for a community of young adults aging out of the foster care system. It’ll also address ongoing efforts to provide service design expertise to NYC community projects. I want to showcase student and faculty projects as moments in a conversation. They aren’t necessarily exemplary; you don’t learn from them as ideal projects—they are provocations that offer entry points for someone else. It’s about creating a culture around thinking that is porous but rigorous and well supported.
NC: At least one project will grow during the exhibition: Over the course of the semester, students in my Planning Sustainable Cities class will map out, in the gallery, developments in the NYC food system. Students will do field research to find these elements, then record them on the map, revealing significant patterns. There’s another educational mission at work in helping curate the show— sharing research with a wider public and facilitating dialogue about urban agriculture. Living Concrete/Carrot City runs from October 1 to December 15, 2010, in the AnnaMaria and Stephen Kellen Gallery of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons The New School for Design, 66 Fifth Avenue at 13th Street. The exhibition is free and open to the public. www.newschool.edu/sjdc
BFA Fine Arts ’03
Seeking “alternatives to current social arrangements,” Luis Berríos-Negrón stages interventions that bridge art and architecture to critically address community, economics, technology, justice, environmental responsibility, and geopolitics.
For more on Luis Berríos-Negrón, visit www.newschool.edu/negron.
Information Graphic: Siu Chong, MFA DT ’07 www.siuchong.com Pe o
cia Pe l Cr rfo iti q r Th man ue eo c e Ur retic Ar t ba a nP lA ub rch it lic Sp ectu ac re e Tu r
Ma wr kes go ite film ve s s s rno pe in r o ech Pe f e rú in Pue s fo ; lat NY r to r t er C & R he DC ico .
rn in Pu Sa er t n J o R ua ico n, .
FA as act Fine sis ivi ts st Ar ts art and at is P SC t SIL teac ars AP VI he on ES A K r JE s, arc OL AN wor hit BO G kin ec WS AR g w tur K DN it al I; e ER h jou di ; rna ts l.
g LA raph RR er Y C an LA d fil RK mm in a NY ker C.
er v Be A r e w cu ntio ríos- ork N lm n N s ina for egr hop ON tin stu ón, , st SP g i de ab ag HE n a nt ou ed R pe s in t co and ES rfo K lla I rm ab b con V— an anc ul, A orati duc Ka dc e v te b f ult abo ghan e pu d b ul ura ut is bli y l re urb tan c bir an , th. En ter sM de sig Arc ni hp nte rve arch rogra nti ite m o c a as nism ture t MI , p T, sis a ta nd erf wh KR nt t ser orm ere h ZY o J ves anc e SZ OA e s TO N J as t art tudie F W ON ea , a s OD AS chin nd ICZ an g KO d .
L e p BN tla for erfo ’s un nds rm d of a Pa Dia:B anc erg nd rad S rso e e ns aco spa th tick P e ’ fi n, Te eop m rst in ce d sis: y Sp b l illb po e’s Be es flo a 01 K t 0 h r o a 2 lil aco igne atin ce vid e fa ard ar y Re Fe n, d eo sh s, ho pu g llo NY pe ion exp usi bli ws ; B n c r o f i w g 0 h r n o a T 0 ip. inn rm du sing , m of in rav zil 20 a Z an str er OS ter v els t Pro ce y; exp de f Po wit loi ro d . CA iew o B jec Pe m t h a at op R le’ NI with razil t n a ion recy sR EM for m cc in cle ep E o om d r Y ub ER der ese lic pa n . ist arc ny of ing ZP ma h, c od ste ulm r a ina rch tin ite g i ct n a n
ob il sp e wo ac rks ef h or op Ets an y L d e Tur ab xhi tle s B bit erl ion 3 in.
B me Ur errío ral ba s- O na Ne pe cc gr ra Arc ión ón’s tion hit Urb en s ec an tr y on ts’ ( t Gu Desi with he ild gn SU Su of Co SA rfa Ma mp NA ce dri eti VE of d, tio L t ho whi n of ASC he E O) no ch t h rab re e O in ar th le ceiv ffi the me es cia nti an l 09 on 20 .
R to A es pia Ut mm iden Ex De opi an, t a hi b r ce a: mb Th Jord tist a itio er e A an, t M n 20 irp an ak A 10 or t d p an Co nxi . Lo ar t Ho int lle ou un ici u po er v ctiv s P ge pa se, ec stc en e f ro ex nt o t hib in o a p no pi ion un In itio mi tal s d pro e a i e n, s. sm nd d b tes , t y ww fa pu at o G t a LB b b w the er ga .th rica lish N t I Ba man inst ea tio re o s Ar mm uh y a U. nx n, fle ta t e s i d l n iou la ct ge au nd S. a i wa ug ter at sF p sp bor ion h v e t s o ter en ou ake lic rop , a s o i A m t r h nd s y, r i p .or nd n ris ous on che ati a r elo g ma t o r e o on es ca n a T ter ed (w ns log ur , D ide te L ial h f ) t s o es nc int ere rm ies mu BN g le 2 sa y o KU ing Tw sc ltid at u. a e gre RT a t o i he Tur hrou nogr scip rs m en VO Dre l a g h i s t le h B ph nar ore ou NN de 06 3 i er ic se EG n 20 n t lin sys y eve than . UT he , H te nt No 3 m 0 a In u B n m s e a s f b B rlin bu or ing r ti p B y d erl he DM rg, a coll Tur sts the erlin igita in, LB res Y d nd abo tle to c l ou ’ l s es Mu rat 2, a ura tsi geo PR y fab N ex IV— ign nic ion m te de po OG ric te B Th lab h a . It odu a wo litic RA ati nds erl nd tra la Gr e rld al M ng . his in a b T 4 g . a e joi vel r ou all 0 ns s wo xhib d the ur tle nd er y carb work 20 rk itio sis ari es to e on a in K on n p NO of xpl tom abu MI spa roje wa ore m l NS T’s ce ct PH : r o , d ca de eg ER mp esig mob o l ES ,a in Ts us ne ile n IV— d t th u P . dt o h esi he Be in roje nam s c r lin S ou T t se libra La suna ri La cre i Sa b a m nk ati fe stu r y nd i S a, c ng (r) de and nt Pra afe o-d pos ( t e r jno ) h si -ts g u p o aya us ned na We tla Fo e/M by mi re nd un IT LB lie sa da SE N nd tio N fo f ho Sti us n. SE r ck ing ab yS l e pa C ity ce Ts
Tu r afe
Alumni Networks Events help Parsons grads support one another and stay in touch. Los Angeles Parsons Networking Mixer and SIGGRAPH Reception
Saratoga Springs, NY Parsons Alumni at third annual The New School Goes to the Races
01 Anezka Sebek, MA Media Studies ’04 and director of Graduate Studies, AMT; Karen Chin, BFA Illustration ’01; and Rob O’Neill, MFA Design and Technology ’01 09 Kim Butwell, BA Liberal Arts ’91, and Justin Butwell
06 Janice Noto-Helmers, BFA Illustration ’76, and Phil Helmers
02 Kat Reilly, MFA Design and Technology ’11; Michael Davis, BFA Illustration ’83; and Rob O’Neill
07 Astrid Brucker, BFA Fashion Design ’90, and Daniel Reardon
03 Nancy Eaton, MA History of Decorative Arts and Design ’91; Zee Shakur, BA Liberal Arts ’00; Anezka Sebek; and Karen Chin
08 David Hatchard and June Yoshimura, BFA Architectural Design ’02
04 Lizi Ruch, BFA Fashion Design ’84; Bertram Keeter, Cert. Fashion Design ’77; and Montrese Chandler, AAS Fashion Design ’00
05 Michael Davis and Angie Wojak, director of Career Services
10 Rafael Holguin, BFA Communication Design ’90 (SVP and design director at Palio; host of the pre-races Parsons alumni brunch)
WASHINGTON, DC Scholarship Celebration at Annual Parsons DC Chapter Event 12 Dean Joel Towers and Parsons board of governors chair Sheila Johnson with lead donors to the Parsons DC Alumni Scholarship: Dee MacDonaldMiller, BFA Environmental Design ’75; Debra Gilmore, BFA Environmental Design ’81; and Tom Grooms, BFA Architectural Design ’75. Lead donor not pictured: Bob Bilicki, BFA Fine Arts ’81
13 Tom Grooms and Jackie Gray, MA History of Decorative Arts and Design ’07
14 Joel Towers, Sheila Johnson, guest, and Eric Steiner (Parsons parent)
15 Guest and Nicole Miles, AAS Fashion Marketing ’08
The Power of Participation Parsons DC Alumni Establish a New Scholarship 11 Erin Stine, assistant director of Admission, and Julie Doerschlag, AAS Interior Design ’96
11 Sheila Johnson
When a group of Parsons graduates combine their skills and talents, anything is possible—even creating a new scholarship. The Parsons DC chapter of The New School Alumni Association recently established a scholarship, funded by nearly 40 alumni, that will provide $5,000 in tuition assistance each year until 2014 to a Parsons student from Washington, DC, who demonstrates financial need. Charlotte M. Ensign, a sophomore enrolled in the BFA Architectural Design program, has been chosen as the first recipient of the scholarship. She says, “Receiving this scholarship has helped a great deal towards making my dream of attending school in Manhattan a reality. The financial support offered by The New School was a huge factor in my decision to attend Parsons The New School for Design.” The scholarship initiative shows the power of participation and the difference gifts of any size can make in helping a project or program succeed. It has also given alumni a way to help current students and leave a tangible legacy to the university. Contributors and other alumni celebrated the success of the scholarship drive in September at kstreet lounge in Washington, DC.
A number of people made the scholarship initiative possible, but Dee MacDonaldMiller ’75, a senior vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle, played a central role. Ms. MacDonald-Miller helped launch the Parsons DC chapter in September 2009 and now serves as chair. She was recently appointed to the New School Alumni Association board, along with Parsons alumni Martha Alexander ’79 and Michael McKinnon ’05. In its first year, the chapter has built a diverse membership that includes graduates from most of the degree and certificate programs and from the classes of 1944 through 2009. The chapter is a dedicated group whose activities include an annual networking event, prospective student recruitment, a working group for the Solar Decathlon (see pages 12–15), and fundraising for the scholarship. There is still time to participate. If you would like to make a gift, join the chapter, or kick off a similar effort in your area, contact Jessica Arnold at the following address: email@example.com
city intersections Alumni engage with urban ecologies in areas ranging from environmental activism to sustainable practices to urban business systems. Their collective experience reflects a growing understanding of urban centers as dynamic intersections of environmental, cultural, political, and economic networks.
AARON LOWN, BFA ’91
product Design school of constructed environments
Love your stuff. “That’s what people say about our products,” says Aaron Lown, co-founder of BUILT, the award-winning SoHo-based design firm. “So those three words became our company tagline.” The popularity of BUILT’s simple yet sophisticated neoprene products—from its first offering, bottle totes, to its latest, iPad sleeves—catapulted the company from a two-man start-up to a 50-employee firm within seven years.“At the beginning, we didn’t even have seed money, but we had a simple idea, and we knew how to incorporate manufacturing into the design process.” Today BUILT sells products in more than 50 countries and is projecting $32 million in sales for 2010. “By designing fashionable, functional products that people want to keep and reuse,” explains Lown, “we can take a step away from a disposable economy.” A member of Parsons’ first graduating class in Product Design, Lown describes the program as having an entrepreneurial focus. “The professors taught craft but also the connection to the retail end—how to manufacture, sell, and talk to a buyer,” he recalls. Product design has always fascinated Lown. He sold handmade objects to local shops when he was very young, and at age 25 exhibited his fiberglass, leather, and aluminum stool at the Museum of Modern Art. Lown designed and built window displays at high-end New York retailer Bergdorf Goodman. He later established the Product Design department at KIDI, Parsons’ affiliate school in Japan. Lown freely discusses his past work for top firms such as Calvin Klein and Kate Spade but remains tight-lipped about what’s next for BUILT. “We’re developing new materials,” he says. “Our latest project is top secret.” www.builtny.com
MARK LOEFFLER, MFA ’90
SCHOOL OF CONSTRUCTED ENVIRONMENTS
STEFAN CAIAFA, BFA ’02
photography SCHOOL OF ART, MEDIA, AND TECHNOLOGY
“Travel is in my blood,” says Stefan Caiafa, who has visited more than 60 countries and speaks five languages. Caiafa, who grew up in Brasilia, landed his dream job at National Geographic Traveler magazine after graduating from Parsons with a BFA in Photography. “Since I also studied communication design,” explains Caiafa, “I had the skills needed to develop and revamp merchandise and product catalogs and to work on the Web.” Caiafa’s experience with National Geographic became his passport to the field of sustainable tourism. He subsequently used his creative and communication design skills while consulting on sustainable tourism projects for the United Nations Foundation, Expedia, Inc., the World Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme. He also took courses at the London School of Economics and now plans to work in international development. “Countries need help to ensure that their cultures and communities aren’t destroyed by the influx of tourism,” says Caiafa. A visitor to nearly 70 World Heritage Sites, Caiafa describes them as “monuments to our humanity and presence on the planet.”
Mark Loeffler’s career as a lighting designer began in the 1970s, when he worked for the Austin Ballet Theatre in the legendary Armadillo World Headquarters. There he created stage lighting and ran spotlights for headliners like Frank Zappa and Willie Nelson. During his ten years at the theater, Loeffler learned the power of lighting. He marvels, “I could use light to make people cry.” In the late ’80s, Loeffler headed to the Northeast, only to discover an overabundance of theatrical lighting designers and a shortage of employment. An advertisement for Parsons’ graduate Lighting Design program led him to architectural lighting. Loeffler credits Parsons with taking him to the center of the fields of architectural lighting and environmental design. “Students learn from the best in the business,” he explains. Today Loeffler heads the New Haven office of Atelier Ten, an international leader in sustainable design, and has consulted on green building projects worldwide. He also lectures at Parsons. “It’s an exciting time in architectural lighting design,” Loeffler says. www.atelierten.com photo: Ave Maria Oratory Exterior View
casey coates danson, BFA ’75
environmental design school of constructed environments
Sometimes taking action on a personal level can lead to action on the global level. That’s what happened to Casey Coates Danson, who quit a mind-numbing nineto-five job on Wall Street for a second go-around at college. “I always knew that I had a mission in life to be creative,” says the LA-based architectural designer. “Going to Parsons was like an explosion— the thinking, the creativity, the curriculum!” She still has her college portfolio. Danson graduated with honors in the mid-1970s with a BFA in Environmental Design, long before “sustainability” became a household word. After working in Cambridge and New York, Danson headed to the West Coast. Learning about the growing hole in the ozone layer soon after led her in a new direction: educating people about the environment, particularly the global effects of climate change. To that end, she co-founded the American Oceans Campaign (which later joined with Oceana) in 1987. Still passionate about architecture, Danson decided to work on promoting environmental awareness in the field. She founded Global Possibilities, a nonprofit advocating the use of solar and renewable energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, in 1996; she also built two solar-powered homes. Danson recently produced the award-winning documentary Who’s Got The Power?, which addresses dependence on fossil fuels and their relation to global warming. “We’re facing a crisis in climate change, and the built environment is the greatest culprit, consuming more than 70 percent of the electricity used in this country,” explains Danson. Although admitting she can’t save the world, Danson remains undeterred. “We can have the greatest impact in the shortest time with the least amount of money if we improve our built environment.” www.globalpossibilities.org
Stills from Who’s Got the Power? (2009)
amy benczik fabry, MA ’00
history of decorative arts and design SCHOOL OF ART AND DESIGN HISTORY AND THEORY
joanne cordero reyes, BFA ’04
school of constructed environments
A stack of sketches inspired one-time architecture student Joanne Cordero Reyes to change career paths. “I realized that all my drawings were of clothes—only one was of a building,” Cordero Reyes says, recalling her desk at the University of Washington. Even as a child, she doodled fashions at her family’s boutique. Deciding where to study was easy. “Parsons tops the list of fashion and design schools,” notes Cordero Reyes. New York—the longtime home of her beloved grandfather, a world-traveling composer—beckoned, sealing her choice. “I moved to New York and then studied at Parsons in Paris during junior year.” Cordero Reyes’ remarkable talent has opened doors at top fashion firms such as Vivienne Tam, Reem Accra, Monique Lhuillier, and J. Mendel, netting her prestigious awards along the way. In 2007, Cordero Reyes launched her own line, Vicente Villarin (named for her grandfather), which has brought her celebrity and critical acclaim. Today Cordero Reyes can be found in Manhattan’s fashion district, designing for Carolina Herrera, a position she describes as “a chance of a lifetime.” www.vicentevillarin.com
“At Parsons, we had unparalleled access to these amazing collections,” recalls Amy Benczik Fabry, who earned an MA in the History of Decorative Arts and Design in the university program, co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution. At the time, the program was offered in Washington, DC. Every day, museum curators would guide Fabry and her class through the Smithsonian’s artifact-filled halls before visitors began streaming in. This experience brought design history to life for Fabry, providing her with an invaluable background that has enriched the interiors she designs for clients. After starting her career in a boutique firm, she is now a senior interior designer at HOK, one of the world’s largest design practices. Fabry deeply values sustainability and incorporates it in her designs. “Environmentally responsible design started about ten years ago, yet few companies wanted to spend money on materials and processes to make built environments sustainable,” she explains. “Today sustainability is becoming a common practice; through creativity, we can reduce our carbon footprint.” www.hok.com
natalya sverjensky, BBA ’09
design and management school of design strategies
“I never dreamed that I’d be living in London,” says Baltimore native Natalya Sverjensky. Since early 2010, Sverjensky has been working as a strategy consultant at the UK-based Futerra Sustainability Communications, an international agency that helps clients promote sustainable development. Sverjensky interned in the firm’s New York City office while studying for her design and management degree at Parsons. “At The New School, I learned how to advocate effectively for sustainability,” says Sverjensky. “In the BBA program, I developed ways of communicating the business case for sustainability that appealed to different groups.” At Futerra, Natalya works with a wide spectrum of organizations, from governments to NGOs to multinational companies. Her clients include Greenpeace, Unilever, and the United Nations Environment Programme. Natalya recently produced a successful online survey—What Kind of Reporter Are You?—to examine how companies are using corporate social responsibility reporting to reach stakeholders. The survey was launched at this year’s Global Reporting Initiative Conference in Amsterdam. “We’ve reached the point where there’s awareness about sustainability at global, national, and local levels,” observes Sverjensky. “Now the challenge is getting people to do something about it.”
“Stephanie was a joy to have in our class at Parsons. She worked hard to become a successful fit and runway model. She was a tremendous fan of Parsons and did all she could to benefit the school. I will always keep her in my heart and thoughts.” —Salvatore R. Cianci, BFA Fashion Design ’58 “Stephanie brings to mind words like ‘spirited’ and ‘determined.’ It was Stephanie who brought us together for our reunion and helped us all stop and reflect on our wonderful years at Parsons.” —Susan Friedman, BFA Fashion Design ’58 “Stephanie was my closest friend at Parsons and the person who gave this Southern girl her first experience skiing—which ultimately influenced my career: I became fashion editor of Skiing magazine.” —Barbara Alley Simon, BFA Fashion Design ’58
Before walking the runway, Stephanie Bradshaw pauses as Sal Cianci adjusts the dress he designed for the Parsons senior show.
REMEMBERING STEPHANIE BRADSHAW
BFA FASHION DESIGN ’58 “Connected” features alumni who made a difference at Parsons through work with faculty, students, and alumni. Jessica Arnold, MS ’05, director of Alumni Relations, and other alumni fondly remember Stephanie Bradshaw, whose dedication helped shape the Parsons alumni experience. I had the honor of meeting Stephanie Bradshaw in 2006, when the current alumni program was just getting started. I like to say that she was our very first volunteer. While others were skeptical about participating in the program, Stephanie jumped right in, making phone calls, writing personal notes, and sometimes just cheering us on! Her ideas were instrumental in shaping The New School Alumni Association. Sometimes she would come all the way into the city from Connecticut to brainstorm ways to engage alumni. Thanks to her efforts, Parsons’ first 50th reunion was an enormous success and many of her classmates joined her for a weekend full of laughter and reminiscing. During the reunion, it became clear that Stephanie was a person who commands attention, brings out the best in others, and never takes no for an answer. Stephanie’s enthusiasm was infectious; she made my staff and me feel that we had the best jobs in the world. We miss her, but her spirit lives on at every volunteer meeting and Parsons event.
our supporters: July 1, 2009–June 30, 2010
in good company
Educating aspiring artists and designers requires the commitment of not only parents and teachers but the broader community as well. Parsons is fortunate to have generous support from companies for our mission and students. Recently LF USA—a subsidiary of Li & Fung Limited, the Hong Kong-based global consumer goods exporter—pledged funding for two new scholarships at Parsons. The first, the Kathy Van Zeeland Scholarship, named for the renowned fashion industry veteran and accessories designer, will support juniors and seniors in the internationally recognized BFA in Fashion Design program. Scholarship recipients will be selected on the basis of merit by a panel from the School of Fashion. The scholarship is intended for students who plan to specialize in accessory design. The second LF USA scholarship will be awarded to gifted local high school students in Parsons’ acclaimed Scholars Program. For three years, Parsons Scholars take art and design studio classes, participate in college preparatory workshops and cultural field trips, and are mentored as they develop artistic skills and consider further art and design studies. Thanks to donors like LF USA, Parsons can extend art and design education to bright and talented students and deepen the relationship between The New School and the communities of New York City. These scholarships support young people who want to attend college to prepare for careers in art and design. Parsons also receives the gift of a more diverse community of creative individuals who can foster one another’s talents under the guidance of leading teachers who are working professionals.
$25,000+ Ashley Abess ’05 Jayne and Leonard Abess, Jr. The Charles and Yvette Bluhdorn Charitable Trust Dominique Bluhdorn Harlan Bratcher The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller Joseph Gromek Sheila C. Johnson Donna Karan ’87 Sidney Kimmel Cora B. ’51 and Clarence F. Michalis Susan Plagemann Alyce Williams Toonk Nancy Walker Alan Wanzenberg Warnaco, Inc. $10,000–$24,999 Jennifer Andrus (P) Takis and Evita Arapoglou (P) A|X Armani Exchange Stephen Berger and Cynthia C. Wainwright (P) Hal and Andrea Burroughs (P) Condé Nast Publications Beth Rudin DeWoody Donna Karan International Drake Design II, Inc. Jamie Drake ’78 Gilt Groupe Eck Meng Goh Bob Greenberg Reed Krakoff ’89 Susan M. Lyne Anand and Anuradha Mahindra (P) Marie Claire R/GA May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc. Tomio Taki Pamela Thomas-Graham Kay Unger ’67 Lillian Zucker Revocable Trust $1,000–$9,999 Anonymous (2) Martha Alexander ’79 AOL Time Warner Arnold and Sheila Aronson Gerald Barad (P) Lucia T. Benton ’00 Rita Blickenstaff (P) Chong Bok and Rok Ja Yi (P) Gladys Bourdain Mario Buatta ’61 Melissa Burnett ’06
Frick Byers ’96 John Calcagno ’73 CBX Coleman Brandworx Mike and Alice Chen (P) Benny Kung Wing Cheung (P) Owen Coleman ’58 College Central Network Paul De Pourtales (P) Michael and Barbara DiGuiseppe (P) Michael Donovan ’69 and Nancye Green ’73 Marjorie ’51 and Robert Feeney Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund David B. Ford Michael and Mary Gellert Janice W. Gewirtz ’78 Robin Glasser ’90 Dara and Jay Godfrey ’04 Victoria Hagan ’84 Hallmark Corporate Foundation Ronald and Cheryl Halpern (P) Mary Harper (P) William Harper, Jr. (P) Jane D. Hartley William Hodgins ’63 Harriet H. Holstein (P) Ann ’76 and Joel Horowitz Jewish Communal Fund of New York Linda M. Kane and Gary D. Stewart (P) Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Kawamura (P) Debbie Kuo ’85 Kurt Salmon Associates Nathan Laffin ’89 Joosun and Mi Kyung Lee (P) Dominick Leuci ’92 Aura V. Levitas Dee MacDonald-Miller ’75 Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation Mark Mancini ’85 Heidi Mathey ’02 Michael McKinnon ’05 Dr. and Mrs. Brian Mekelburg (P) Anelle Miller ’74 Andrew and Fatima Ng (P) and Jessica Ng ’10 Sandra Davis Owen ’57 Elizabeth ’95 and Robert Pitts Tracy Reese ’84 Susan Roth (P) Scott Sanders ’98 Christopher and Pascale Schmidt (P) Kouichi Sekiguchi (P) The Arch W. Shaw Foundation Margaret J. Smith
Peter Sole and Helen Mumford Sole (P) Andrew and Karen Spann (P) Celina Stabell ’98 Steven Stolman ’80 Luis and Maria Suberville (P) Frances and Isaac Suder ’47 Syms Corporation Marcy Syms The Teck Foundation Fred and Robin Tedori (P) Elizabeth A. Terrell ’76 J. Nicholson and Kakuko Thomas (P) Lee and Marvin Traub T.R. Designs, Inc. Nancy Vignola ’76 Jessica Weber ’66 Claire S. Werner ’83 Oi Siong Yeunh and Siew Lee Chew (P) Eddy Yuen and Katherine Chow (P) (P): Parent of a current Parsons student.
Frank Alvah Parsons Society Members of the Frank Alvah Parsons Society demonstrate their passion for and commitment to Parsons The New School for Design by making gifts of $1,000 or more to the Annual Fund. Members of this group receive benefits all year, including invitations to lectures and exhibit openings and recognition in re:D. More important, members make a difference in the lives of tomorrow’s design leaders. Annual Fund gifts to Parsons provide unrestricted funds that are allocated wherever the need is greatest. These gifts are key to Parsons’ ability to meet priorities such as scholarships, faculty recruitment and retention, and facilities improvement. For more information on the Frank Alvah Parsons Society, please contact Melissa Cowley Wolf at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
re:D (regarding Design) FALL 2010 Executive Editor Nancy Donner
Cover Story When invited to design re:D’s cover, Marcos Chavez saw a professional challenge for his BFA Communication Design students—one that they met with sophistication and ingenuity. Urban art and design schools often seek out partnerships with clients offering students real-world experience. Parsons faculty member Marcos Chavez needed only to turn to the school’s alumni magazine to find such an opportunity. Approached to create re:D’s cover, Chavez, principal and creative director of TODA New York, proposed his Art Direction class as designers. Students met with re:D staff to learn about the magazine’s audience, editorial voice, design, and theme. They then formed teams to brainstorm concepts, which were formally pitched to re:D’s editorial committee. The students’ understanding of and creative engagement with the theme of the issue impressed the committee. In the selected concept, urban artifacts create the silhouette of a sylvan landscape, capturing the interplay of built and natural environments. The concept required the students to construct a set, which they then photographed in two days of intense work. During the final stages, Andrew Goh remarked, “We’re gonna be up all night, but that’s what you do to stay in the game.”
Editorial Board Jessica Arnold, Latoya Crump, Sean Moriarty, Jen Rhee, Laetitia Wolff Parsons Advisory Board Joel Towers, Hazel Clark, Simon Collins, Miodrag Mitrasinovic, William Morrish, Sven Travis, Mark Hannah Managing Editor Julie Novacek Godsoe Editor John Haffner Layden Contributing Writers Rose Cryan, Suzanne Bronski, Kate McCormick, Gabrielle Mangino, David Sokol Alumni Relations Jessica Arnold, Mara Caruso, Latoya Crump, Rachel Denny Art Director Isa Gouverneur Senior Designers Paula Giraldo, Lisa Maione, Shoko Tagaya, Alex Ku Production coordinators Steven Arnerich, Sung Baik Copy Editor Leora Harris Produced by Communications and External Affairs, The New School Letters and Submissions re:D welcomes letters to the editor as well as submissions of original manuscripts, photo submissions, and/or artwork. Unsolicited manuscripts, related materials, photography, and artwork will not be returned. Please include your year of graduation, degree completed, and major or program. Address Changes Please submit your address changes at www.newschool.edu/alumni. CONTACT US re:D, Parsons The New School for Design, 79 Fifth Avenue, 17th floor, New York, NY 10003 email@example.com www.newschool.edu/alumni/newsletters.html PARSONS (760-830) Volume 28, No. 3, November 2010. PARSONS is published six times a year, in July, October, November, December, April, and May, by The New School, 66 W. 12th Street, NY, NY 10011. Periodicals rate paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to PARSONS, 66 West 12th Street, NY, NY 10011. credits: Ida C. Benedetto (News & Events); Rod Berg (Alumni Message); Luis Berríós-Negrón (Table of Contents, Pathways); Marcos Chavez (Cover Story); Rachel Denny (Alumni Message); Massoud Hosseini (Pathways); Marty Heitner (News & Events); Eric Laignel/Eric Laignel Photography (Alumni Profiles); Dan Lecca (Table of Contents, Portfolio); Conway Liao (News & Events); Eric Lugley (Alumni Profiles); Kate McCormick (News & Events); Pure + Applied (Faculty News); Martin Seck (Table of Contents; News & Events, Portfolio, Community Centered); Clint Spaulding/ PMc (News & Events); Eduardo Staszowski (Faculty News); Matthew Sussman (Table of Contents, Red-Handed); Charles Votaw (Alumni Message).
Marcos Chavez with communication design students. From left to right: Stephanie Kim, You Sun Min, Varenka Ruiz, Mutiara Kasih, Soo Song, Tina Lee, Ernesto Gutierrez, Andrew Goh, Tina Fang, Simon Lugassy, Esther Yang, Anny Yang, Simoni Bhansali, Melanie Sugiura, Ward Roberts, Soo Yen Lee. Not pictured: Scott Walker.
The New School does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, gender or sexual orientation, religion, religious practices, mental or physical disability, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status or veteran or marital status.
red-handed CARRIE MAE ’09 In 2007, Carrie Mae left the deserts of Arizona for the concrete oasis of New York City, where she began an MFA in Design and Technology at Parsons. For her thesis, Confiscated Weapons of Mass Construction, Carrie Mae explored concepts of security—spiritual and physical—in her new setting. She created sculptures and wearable art out of scissors surrendered during airport screenings, arranging them in rings that call to mind Tibetan sand mandalas or skeletons of plants or animals. Carrie Mae connected the scissors with other artifacts of her surroundings: zip ties and concrete. From a distance, their abstract geometries soothe, but closer inspection yields provocative commentaries on security in the contemporary era. www.carriemae.com
OFFICE OF ALUMNI RELATIONS, PARSONS THE NEW SCHOOL FOR DESIGN 79 FIFTH AVENUE, 17TH FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10003
Visit Parsons’ dynamic new website: www.newschool.edu/parsons
re:D, the Parsons alumni magazine. Inside you will find photos and news about recent events, feature articles about exciting Parsons initiat...
Published on Nov 30, 2010
re:D, the Parsons alumni magazine. Inside you will find photos and news about recent events, feature articles about exciting Parsons initiat...