Ralph Rapson Hall
In 2002, under Dean Thomas Fisher, work was completed on the renovation and expansion of the building that houses the College of Design. The new facilities include the original building (Thorshov and Cerny, 1960), which has been completely renovated, and a 50,000 square-foot addition designed by Steven Holl (with Vincent James Associates and Ellerbe Becket), for which Holl recently won a New York Chapter American Institute of Architects (AIA) design award.
The addition’s asymmetrical angular forms and spaces contrast with the rectilinear modernist sensibility of the original building. Clad in copper, the addition’s cruciform shape expands outward to define a series of outdoor courtyards. The complex interior spaces are suffused with light that radiates through the Profilit structural glazing system. Students can learn from the building’s exposed interior structure, the glazing system, the deep walls housing vertical mechanical ducts, and the furnishings that make use of recycled materials.
The renovation and addition, which increase the size of the main CDes facility to 150,000 square feet, house a library, a 260-seat auditorium, new graduate studios, technology-enhanced classrooms, an exhibition gallery, an outdoor materials and construction demonstration yard, and other facilities that enhance CDes’s educational and research missions. Named in honor of Ralph Rapson, the noted modernist and longtime head of the school, the building is a learning center for students, professionals, and the community.