About Design Workshop
The Design Workshop at Parsons School of Design is an innovative studio that provides pro bono architectural and construction services to nonprofit organizations while giving graduate architecture, interior design and lighting design students the rare opportunity to both design and build a community facility. Since its establishment in 1996, Parsons Design Workshop has helped meet community-based organizations’ needs, ranging from green space to educational and recreational facilities for children. Past projects include a laundromat and information center in Mississippi for a community devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and Bronxscape, a rooftop garden for Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, a young adult residence in the Bronx.
The Design Workshop began as a formal graduate studio in 1998 when it undertook what would become a three-year project to renovate the architecture department’s facilities. Challenging the existing 12,000 s.f. loft space and the acquired habits of the student and faculty that this spatial condition had produced, this renovation project was undertaken to both improve daily academic life while re-constructing future possibilities for the school as a whole. The first phase produced The Event Corridor. A laminated medium density fiber board (MDF) surface along the corridor wall “folds” to mark True North on the fl oor as one moves along its 175 ft. length. Cross cutting this fold are folded metal flats which redistribute the student lockers and register within the studio the transverse rhythm of the ancillary rooms along the corridor. The wall is further punctuated by five “constructed events” in glass, wood, and aluminum which playfully articulate and comment on specific aspects that support the life of the studio (lounge display, fabrication shop, library/archive, bathrooms, and computer lab).