New Art and Architecture Interdisciplinary Studio Complex Features Regenerative Approach

Thursday, April 2 2009

April 2, 2009

Written by Joni Kirk

New Art and Architecture Interdisciplinary Studio Complex Features Regenerative Approach

MOSCOW, Idaho – The College of Art and Architecture at the University of Idaho is in the planning phase of a new Interdisciplinary Studio Complex, which will provide a rich, multi-faceted approach to learning.

According to Dean Mark Hoversten, the complex will include some 15,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor studios. It also will feature a construction yard, a technical shop and assembly yard, a town square for project review and gallery exhibits, and faculty offices.

"Few schools promote the opportunity to learn by building – to realize ideas in three dimensions," said Hoversten. “For that reason, we will intentionally leave much of the finish work incomplete. Our students will join with us to create their own work environment. The bones will remain the same year after year, but the complex will be constantly changing. In some instances, students will even build the furniture for their classrooms."

Students will learn about trusses, wall systems and irrigation connections by actually building them. They will learn how to grade a project by hopping on a front end loader. They'll understand the feasibility of their designs as they develop before their eyes.

The complex integrates interdisciplinary learning, teaching and research. Instead of the traditional classroom approach dedicated to one discipline, the complex will focus on a problem to be solved and bring together disciplines as needed. "Problems don't fit into silos," Hoversten said. Classes also will serve communities across the state by prototyping small construction projects, such as park pavilions, bus stops and perhaps even Habitat for Humanity houses.

The complex will emphasize sustainability through passive daylighting and other energy efficient concepts, as well as a series of open and enclosed gardens, green roofs and rain water harvesting. "This studio complex will be designed to be as regenerative as possible," said Hoversten. "Being regenerative means you contribute more than you consume."

The Interdisciplinary Studio Complex aligns with the university's strategic program prioritization for long-term viability and effectiveness. It brings all of the college's programs together for shared-learning opportunities, which ultimately will help students address problems in the 21st century.

A feasibility study for the project was completed in fall 2008, which confirmed the College of Art and Architecture's need for additional learning space. Advisory board member, Eric Roberts, from SH-Architecture based in Las Vegas, Nev., will provide in-kind architectural services; a gift estimated at some $270,000. Design workshops with faculty, students and advisory board members have guided the vision. The complex is expected to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating.

The $3.5 million, privately funded project tentatively is slated for completion in fall 2010. The Interdisciplinary Studio Complex will be located on the eastern side of the University of Idaho's Moscow campus on College Avenue.

The University of Idaho's College of Art and Architecture educates it students to be leaders in sustainable practices, both personally and professionally. For more information, visit e-mail caa@uidaho.eduor call (208) 885-4409.
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 150 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit

Media Contact: Joni Kirk, University Communications, (208) 885-7725,

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit