New AVT Building Wins Award While Still on the Drawing Board

Posted: September 21, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

AVT Building
A computer model of the new AVT building.

The new Art and Visual Technology (AVT) building has already won its first design award – and it is still just on paper.

Ayers Saint Gross, a Washington, D.C.-based national award-winning architecture firm with a rich 90-year history of university facility design, was recently recognized with an award.

The award came from the Baltimore Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for the design of the building, titled Academic V on the drawing board. The building was recognized in the unbuilt project category.

Planning for the 88,000-square-foot facility has involved collaboration with AVT faculty and students and College of Visual and Performing Arts administration. The design of this facility evolved into a forward-thinking and evolutionary step for education in the visual arts at Mason.

The new building will house all AVT studio instructional areas and is intended to expand educational program opportunities in advanced technology, offer state-of-the-art studio facilities, increase student services, expand gallery and lecture halls and support a new community of graduate students in specially planned studio clusters.

The introduction of Internet2 technology in lecture halls and studio spaces will bring students global opportunities to participate in and collaborate with artists on national and international projects, competitions, critiques and discussions.

“As we envision AVT’s new home, we anticipate an overall 50 percent increase in space for studios, shops and lecture classrooms,” says Tom Ashcraft, associate department chair.

The building will feature expanded technology in large format lecture halls, specially designed spaces for student critiques and discussions, a new student print bureau, expanded gallery space and exhibition preparation facilities and expanded foundation program studios.

An exterior sculpture courtyard that neatly dovetails into outdoor working areas adjacent to a densely forested landscape will also help characterize a new energy and excitement for the visual arts at Mason.

Portions of this article appeared in a slightly different form in the AVT newsletter, Full Circle.

AVT building

Write to at