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Practice : Winter 2009
Looking up from Dalton Street, we are now a sort of billboard for learning. The front façade windows display our night- time learning culture for the conventioneers who stay in the hotels ne arby. We are Boston, the hub of le arning, a nd out-of-town visitors will know it from our presenc e on the street. BAC Foundation Studios are the third life of the building. Rumors s wirl of the penitent spaces in the ba sement when it was a police precinct . I like the mythological aura. I am more aware, however, of the aura of the Institute of Contemporary Art. BAC students are pinning to walls that once physic ally supported the work of my favorite a rtists. Robert Mapplethorpe exhibited right where we are now gathering to discuss a s tudent’s 3-dimen sion al re-e xpression of the ritual of the Native American Sundance (a project of the A2 Studio). The protestors who visited the ICA to reject controversia l art in the early 1990s have left, but the energy to engage human experience and physic ality remains. If the pattern continues for 951, the building may have a fourth life too, but not without Foundation Studios leaving a mark of their deep a spiration to build meaningful spac es for people. The approximately 280 foundation students experienc ed cha nge this seme ster, a nd I hope they reflect back on the connec- tions between their learning and the spaces needed to facilitate it. We share goals across the educational departments of the BAC. One goal is to bring our students to reflective educational moments and sensitize them to the spatia l rel ationships that they will soon have the authority to de sign with the aim of improving human collaboration. I believe our 47 faculty experienced the same change, but as practicing designers and instructors. We have broadened our understanding of the relationships bet ween space and learning. Many of our volunteers will return ne xt semester to de velop their instruction strategy in the spa ce. My hope is that when visitors tour through our building it reveals the interdisci- plinary energy of Foundation. I wish the walls to fill with work to inspire questions, understanding and the will of our students a nd faculty to affect design. The potential of this spac e is to support a ne w culture that leaves its mark on this building and the built a nd un-built environment. We have loved the huge challenge of working with the largest and most diverse architectural community in the nation on the newest chapter for this venerable building —truly an illustration of “How Buildings Learn.” — valerie fletcher, Executive Director, Institute for human centered Design NEWSWORThy ] 951 bOylSTON bac Students in Eveni ng Design Studios pRacTIcE 7