May 10, 2022
The Case Studies seminar series explores the design and execution of new work from the practitioner’s perspective. Contemporary classical and traditional design encompasses architectural work for all building types, at all scales and budgets, and in the allied fields of urban planning, landscape, interiors and the artisan and building trades. The series aims to explore solutions to contemporary design challenges, foster critical discussion of recent work, and demystify the complexities of how unique projects come together.
Vanderbilt University, founded in 1873 in Nashville, Tennessee, has a rich historic campus comprised of several different architectural styles. When the University decided to comprehensively upgrade their aging student housing, they chose to develop a new residential college system. Based on models at Oxford and Cambridge, residential colleges break down the size of the university community into smaller, more comfortable interdisciplinary student groups that share a home for the duration of their time on campus. As a building type, the residential college incorporates a variety of spaces in which its residents can live, learn, dine, collaborate, and socialize.Vanderbilt engaged David M. Schwarz Architects for a comprehensive master plan for residential colleges which has led to a multi-phase project to construct four new colleges in the heart of the historic campus. When completed, they will comprise nearly 1 million square feet and house over 1,300 students. Early in the design process, the firm led a comprehensive study and dialog with the University and determined that Collegiate Gothic Revival was the most appropriate aesthetic in which to design the residential colleges.In this program, presenters Steve Knight and Mark Elliott with David M. Schwarz Architects lead an in-depth presentation reviewing the overall master plan, exploring the influence of historic precedents, and examining the four new colleges (each in a various state of completion). They address some of the unique opportunities and challenges of designing and building high-quality traditionally-inspired institutional architecture using modern industry supply and construction methods. Additional focus is given to some of the unique design and construction challenges encountered, including attention to high-quality exterior finishes of brick, limestone, and steel windows as well as high-quality interior finishes of millwork.
Steve Knight is a Principal who joined David M. Schwarz Architects in 1997 after receiving his Master of Architecture from North Carolina State University. He has worked on most of the firm’s performing arts centers, including the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, TN and the Gaillard Center in Charleston, SC as well as various mixed-use multifamily projects. He currently leads the firm’s four-phase project for residential colleges at Vanderbilt University. Outside the office Steve is active in preservation advocacy, serving as the President of the Art Deco Society of Washington since 2016.Mark Elliott is an Associate and project manager at David M. Schwarz Architects. He has experience with a range of project types including master planning, mixed-use residential, higher education and performing arts. Mark completed both his undergraduate and graduate architecture degrees at the University of Maryland, College Park. His work earned various academic and design awards from the school, as well as a Charter Award from the Congress of New Urbanism in 2014. As a graduate student he received the David M. Schwarz Architects Traveling Fellowship in 2012 and joined the firm full-time in 2013.
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