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Rx The Farmacy reopens soon Credit: Amanda Suarez , Yixi Sun

Meyerson Hall, the home of the School of Design, is being redesigned.

This summer, Meyerson is undergoing phase 1A of a three-phase renovation that will focus on studio space on the second floor, as well as on the auditorium in the basement. Both locations will open Aug. 20.

The ultimate goal of the project is to make “a cross-disciplinary studio,” said PennDesign Director of Operations and Planning Karl Wellman, who is the project manager for the renovations.

“One of the big goals of this project has been to expose the interdisciplinary nature of PennDesign physically and do a design that makes it happen more readily,” University Architect David Hollenberg said.

There will be six studios on the east side and six on the west. In total, the studios will house 168 desks — 22 more than before. The new studios will be much more “fluid,” in that the partitions between studios will now be able to adjust to different class sizes, Wellman said.

“It changes the way they can teach in those studios,” Wellman said. “They now have the ability to increase the size of the studio … in the same space to accommodate multiple disciplines.”

Third-year master of architecture student Eric Wong said that he is excited to see how the new studio will work.

“It’ll be a nice change for partitions to be down,” Wong said. “It’ll help foster more collaboration within and between studios, and people will more easily see what their classmates are doing.”

Another addition is a projector in each studio, which will help facilitate critiques, Wellman said. Before, it was difficult to find nearby space with the necessary equipment.

“The projectors in the studios [are] something that has been needed for quite a while, given the nature of the work that we do,” Wong said, noting that most presentations students have to do after their first year are digital.

There has been two years worth of student input on mockups, Wellman said, and the renovations have been long awaited by students.

“It’s definitely something the students have wanted for a while now, so I’m excited to see how it turns out,” Wong said.

The renovations to B1, the large auditorium in Meyerson, include the addition of new flooring, seating, lighting, ceiling, sound panels and an auxiliary podium, said Associate Director of University Life Facilities Donald Calcagni. It was time for a renovation since the room had “aged out” since its last renovation in the summer of 1997, he wrote in an email.

The room will seat 406 students, perfect for large exams or lectures, Calcagni said. Despite its large capacity, not many events are currently held in B1 because “it’s not very inviting,” Wellman said.

“It’s unfortunate to have a space that large and have nobody want to use it,” Wellman said.

Phase 1B of the renovations, which will take place this fall and next spring, will focus on the exterior of the building, specifically making a more defined northeast entry to the building near the food carts. A canopy entry made of aluminum will be added, as well as two benched areas.

“It’s really the cornerstone of campus,” Wellman said. “Not only do students enter that space, but also our visitors and guest lecturers.”

Phase 2 will occur next summer and will focus on the third and fourth floors of the building. Phase 3 will include a glass addition on the north side of the building to make student work more visible.

The renovations in Meyerson represent a vision for sustainable buildings that extends to the entire campus, said Hollenberg, who helped redesign the building.

Hollenberg cited Meyerson as an example of the “hidden projects that collectively are doing their best to extend the life of existing buildings.”

“Their impact is slow and cumulative,” he said, “rather than a ribbon-cutting on a big day when a new building is opened.”

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