With an official opening now projected for spring 2009, the relocation of the Tyler School of Art is expected to integrate the art community into Main Campus.
The three-story facility, spanning more than 240,000 square feet, will be located at 12th and Norris streets and will connect to the Esther Boyer College of Music, which is located in Presser Hall, through an all-glass reception area. Andy Riccardi, director of Engineering and Construction, said the new building’s proximity to the School of Communications and Theater will also enhance this mission. The construction of the new campus is currently in the “earth work and foundation process” and the cost, including furniture, equipment and construction, will total $75 million, Riccardi said.
The new building will feature a glass-based art studio, which Riccardi said will allow for more contact with the outside environment.
The lower levels will house brand new art kilns for pottery and sculpture students, more photography stations and even a new metal shop where students can make jewelry.
The reason for relocation is a combination
of growth and consolidation, he said. “Part of that growth is to inject the kind of arts and music and creativity amongst all the disciplines of the schools,” he said.
Riccardi added that the buildings at Tyler’s current location in Elkins Park are out of date and unsuitable for students, citing poor ventilation and infrastructure as the cause. Tyler’s move to Main Campus has some music students buzzing about the future interactions between the two schools. Aaron Stewart, a senior music education major, said he and his friends at the music school are excited that the art school will be connected to Presser Hall.
“Music, art and theater are strongly connected. I think the arts, in general, need to be incorporated into each other,” he said.
Similarly, Mark Doerries, a graduate student at the music school, said he hopes the schools will actively work together.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “Hopefully there will be some interdisciplinary crossing over between music and arts and maybe even theater.”
Though it seems that most students are looking forward to the art school’s move, some are hesitant about the consolidation of different art forms on one campus.
“I just see us clashing a lot,” said sophomore music education major Doug Piazza. “Visual art is very different from performing arts, so they are probably better off having their own space away from Main Campus.”
The school’s construction has also caused disruptions in the classroom, Piazza added.
“Sometimes they have the jackhammers going so much that the entire floor shakes. And it’s so loud the teacher can’t even talk,” he said. Sophomore music education major Jill Truman said she is not happy about the move either.
“They took out parking spaces and there’s already enough people in this area. It’s just too much. Why add?” she said.
Liron Milbar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.