Text description provided by the architects. The project makes behind-the-scenes aspects of the film making process visible in order to use the building as a teaching tool. It also demonstrates technical achievement and sustainability.
-Creative educational program solutions: The design enables students to see into teaching spaces to learn about all aspects of film making. The production program is sized to allow full class participation inside these typically small back-of-house spaces.
Services Provided by Studio Gang Architects: Led full design and structural renovation from concept through completion. Columbia College wanted a professional quality media teaching facility that would encourage interdisciplinary collaboration among students and faculty. The building includes three large sound stages for film, video and motion capture instruction as well as teaching space for, lighting, set-making, directing and animation classes. The largest sound stage is sized to allow all of the students working on a film project to have class in the same space. The Film Department Chairman sees this collaborative environment instigating a “pedagogical shift” for students and instructors. What was once taught in individual spaces, separate buildings even, can now be taught collectively. Further, through the design, parts of the film making process that were once invisible like wardrobe, prop storage, and set-construction are made visible. In doing so, the building enhances the interaction between students and exposes them to all parts of the production process.
Like film, the building uses spatial layering and oblique compositional lines to create depths of field and light is used to give “deep focus” and to animate movement across, through and within the framed views. As one walks through the building light and perspective are manipulated to create spaces similar to great cinematic ones.
Sound and vibration isolation from urban noise and adjacent train tracks was an important part of the technical criteria met by the design. In addition, special attention was give to perfectly flat floors for rolling cameras, low velocity air for quietness during filming, and durable surfaces for students moving large carts and lights into spaces.