School of Visual Arts MFA Photo

 
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Photography by Alexander Severin

The School of Visual Arts MFA Photo, Video and Related Media Department, newly renovated and expanded. Located at ground level, the original space was cut off from the street by three disused loading bays. The new design reclaims the vestigial industrial space, expanding the usable footprint and creating an active, multipurpose social space. 

The 10,000 sf project for repeat client SVA includes renovating photography studios, classrooms, and administrative spaces, as well as opening up the sealed façade of this former warehouse to maximize daylight and visibility. 

The space was envisioned to be a place to gather our whole community, and it’s really working beautifully. The acoustics are terrific. You have to know what it looked like before...it was a warren of makeshift spaces…sound problems, no heat and air conditioning…it’s a totally different environment. It’s a very professional, lovely space to work and I think it represents the school the way it ought to be represented. I’ve been here over 30 years, and somehow we were a leading program and had a space that looked like a cow pen. I think the school is enhanced in every way.
— Charles Traub, Chair, MFA Photography
Spacesmith really listened to us…they paid attention. They would hear what our interests were…programmatically…and aesthetically. I love that it’s open to the street, psychologically and emotionally it’s helped immensely. Sound and light were always a concern but…I was pleasantly surprised that I haven’t witnessed any trouble. The kitchen area has been an amazing improvement in the design…the students really love hanging out at the table. The public really likes it…the alumni really likes it…people love sitting on the steps. It’s a good place a work; it’s a good place to be…it’s created a creative space. We’re really enjoying this. Every little piece works.
— Randy West, Director of Operations, MFA Photography