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CSULB Students Design How They'd Revive Corridor

Eight teams presented ideas to campus officials for redesigning the school's AS Building, which was one of the first buildings at the university.

Eight teams of junior interior design students at Cal State Long Beach presented ideas to university officials on how to update one of the first buildings on campus.

The designs served as ideas for renovations to the first-floor corridor of the Academic Services (AS) Building, which is spacious and has a low-celinged hallway.

“This is the first time the campus has done a design project with students that has an actual budget,” said Design Professor Dorothy Ottolia, who worked with the student teams on their respective project ideas, in a prepared statement.  “In four weeks, these students have done what others have months to do, and they were so professional.  It worked out really well.”

Officials, like CSULB President F. King Alexander, said the chosen design concepts will be eventually presented to Ottolia and her students. The project could be completed as early as Fall 2013.

This project reflects the design department's commitments to theory and practice, Ottolia said.

“We are one of the few design schools who emphasize hand skills.  Here, students still build models with their hands,” she explained.  “We don’t want the students going to the computer until they can sketch by hand.  These students are grounded.  This is their budget, and it is up to them to make it work.”

During their research, participating students evaluated how the AS Building was used by students, and were encouraged to take photos, sketch ideas and interview users and take notes on the landscaping and architectural materials. They also compared the AS Building, one of the first buildings built on campus, to newer buildings at the university.

Among the students' discoveries was the lack of technology in the AS Building.

“There are three electrical outlets in the entire hall and, of those, only two are at an accessible height.  The third is up high,” Ottolia said.   “Today’s students need electricity to use their new technologies.  There will be surfaces students can write on with colored markers.  They will be able to work in any means possible including technology.”

Professionals volunteering for the project include the International Interior Design Association’s Pam Neiman, Armstrong Ceiling’s David Hovekamp, Armstrong Flooring’s Heather Vari, Philips Lighting’s Tracie Jahn, 3form’s Rebecca Koteen and Herman Miller’s Elizabeth Dea.  Participating campus personnel include AVP of Physical Planning and Facilities Management Salazar, and Sam Mori, CSULB’s architect and director of design and construction services.

“These professionals are helping students who are as dedicated as they are innovative,” Ottolia pointed out.  “This project is very much about how we carve our own spaces.  Students tried to appeal to all learning types.  Some like to learn in isolation, some like to learn through collaboration and some by watching others. Our students incorporated a variety of learning environments.”

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