Posts by Scott Carlson
September 28, 2009, 10:10 AM ET
Ann Holley's 125-square-foot house makes a statement about living on less. (Photograph courtesy Alfred U.)
Ann Holley, a graduate student in sculpture at Alfred
University, arrived at the university this year with her own living
quarters: ProtoHaus, a tiny house that she designed with her
husband, Darren Macca, an industrial designer. The house, which was
constructed in seven weeks over the summer, is about 22 feet by 8
feet and is set on a trailer for mobility.
"I spent most of the spring semester working on the plans and a proposal to the university to allow me to bring the house and park it here on campus," Ms. Holley says. She says the university gave her a "great spot" on the campus at the edge of a residential neighborhood.
Ms. Holley says her work in sculpture strives to start conversations among people, and ProtoHaus is no exception. Built with natural and recycled...
September 24, 2009, 02:00 PM ET
Graceland is now an inn at Davis & Elkins College. (Chronicle photographs by Scott Carlson)
Elkins, W.Va. — Davis & Elkins College is a small institution in the hills of West Virginia, but its two historic mansions convey a world-class wealth rarely seen, either in West Virginia or anywhere else. The mansions — Graceland and Halliehurst — were built in the late 1800s as summer homes for two statesmen who were also coal and lumber barons and college founders, Henry Gassaway Davis and his son-in-law, Stephen B. Elkins. The Victorian castles are named for Davis's daughters. Both buildings are National Historic Landmarks.
Graceland's interior is a paradise of fine woodwork.
With their fine stained-glass windows and intricately carved woodwork in birds-eye maple, cherry, walnut, and oak, the homes can render a visitor speechless — carved wood is everywhere,...Read More
September 18, 2009, 09:00 AM ET
A model of the wind garden: It looks calming, but it really works when the wind is blowing. (Image courtesy Centerbrook Architects)
Quinnipiac University, which has grown like
crazy recently, is setting up a calm-looking wind farm. It looks more like
a garden, actually, with its microturbine cluster at the top of a
Quinnipiac will use 25 vertical turbines called Windspires. They are likely to offset only a small amount of the energy that the university is using in its growth spurt, generating a projected 32,626 kilowatt-hours annually, which will amount to a reduction of 26,370 pounds in greenhouse gases, according to the manufacturer. That is about equal to the annual emissions of an average American house, according to some calculations.
Previous post: Shop Talk: Friday, September 18Read More
September 17, 2009, 01:26 PM ET
The Sierra Club and student activists have generated news lately
through their protests against coal power on campuses. The
Associated Press offered up
an article yesterday about the campaign, which has focused on a
number of Midwest and Western colleges. The University of Missouri
at Columbia, which in 2007 generated 80 percent of its power by
burning 48,000 tons of coal, was one of the institutions featured
in the article.
The article says a Sierra Club report has identified more than 60 institutions that have their own coal-burning plants or that rely heavily on coal, like Indiana University, Pennsylvania State University's main campus, Oregon State University, the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Virginia.
"University campuses have been at the forefront of many of the most important movements in...Read More
September 17, 2009, 01:15 PM ET
An engineering professor at Pennsylvania State University's main campus collapsed in front of his class on Tuesday morning and later died, the university announced Wednesday.
Michael J. Horman, a 38-year-old associate professor of architectural engineering and native of Australia, was an expert in the design and construction of environmentally sound green buildings. He had been the director of the Lean and Green Research Initiative, which sought methods to reduce the cost of sustainable construction, and he had been an editor at the Journal of Green Building and the American Society of Civil Engineers' Journal of Construction Engineering and Management.
The university did not announce a cause of death. Mr. Horman leaves a wife and two children.
Previous post: Shop Talk: Thursday, September 17Read More
September 15, 2009, 01:00 PM ET
It's deadline day for colleges that have been working on their climate action plans, a key part of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment, and we have been reviewing some of the plans that have been rolling in since last week. Of particular interest are the plans submitted by community colleges.
Many community colleges have fewer resources than other institutions, as well as large commuter populations, which generate difficult-to-handle "scope three" emissions. These are emissions that are related to higher education but are generated off campus, by commuters' cars and other sources. As a lower-cost alternative to four-year institutions, commuter colleges are also under pressure because their enrollments are booming in this recession.
So it was interesting to see Howard Community College's climate-action plan, which calls for the institution to become climate ...Read More
September 11, 2009, 11:00 AM ET
The ghost hunter fell from the roof of 1 Spadina Crescent, a wicked-looking building. (Photo by M. Janicki)
Colleges have their share of tragic stories, but this is one of the more unusual ones. The Toronto Star and several other Canadian news outlets are reporting the death of Leah Kubik, 29, who fell from the roof of a Gothic building at the University of Toronto.
The reports say Ms. Kubik, who was from Indiana, had been looking for ghosts at 2 a.m. and had fallen after she tried to follow a male friend from one roof to another. The Star says the incident was a "drunken" misadventure.
The building that the pair had been searching, 1 Spadina Crescent, certainly gives off a ghostly aura. The Star notes that a lecturer had been stabbed to death there in 2001; the crime went unsolved. The 1874 building had also been a military hospital, where a young Amelia Earhart nursed...Read More
September 10, 2009, 11:00 AM ET
Ohio State U.'s renovated library makes three buildings feel like one. (Ohio State U. photos)
You can consider your new library building a success if Scott
Bennett has nice things to say about it. Mr. Bennett, a former
librarian at Yale University, is one of the best-known consultants
to colleges and librarians on library design.
In a casual conversation recently, he brought up the new library at Ohio State University, which he had just toured.
"It is stupendous. It really is," he said.
The library just opened after a three-year, $109-million renovation that attempted to blend the 1913 building with its two additions, which were added decades later.
"They didn't work together very well, and they really felt like three libraries," Mr. Bennett said. Now "one of my strongest feelings about this library is that it is one building. It is that in part because of a thoroughgoing...
August 27, 2009, 10:50 AM ET
Ivy Tech Community College will tear down all but the facade of
a historic, 96-year-old hospital building to build a $39.5-million
according to The Indianapolis Star.
Preservationists had fought a plan to demolish the building, according to the article. The building had not served as a hospital since 1973, although it had been used for a time as low-income housing. The college bought the property in 2006 for $1 on the condition that it would preserve the building's historic features. For a time, the college engaged private developers who planned to turn the building into housing for students at Ivy Tech or Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. But the $25-million to $50-million needed to complete that project became unrealistic in a flagging economy.
Now the facade will ornament a 150,000-square-foot building housing classrooms and laboratories -- that is,...
August 25, 2009, 09:31 AM ET
The Grand Forks Herald says the University of North
Dakota and Grand Forks, N.D., could learn a thing or two from North
Dakota State University and the city of Fargo, where NDSU has set
up a downtown campus. In coming years, 4,000 students will live and
learn in downtown Fargo, which will revitalize the city,
writes Tom Dennis, the newspaper's editorial-page editor, in an
"UND also is weighing the prospect of opening a downtown campus; and if NDSU’s experience is any indication, the benefits far outweigh the costs," he writes. "Thanks to strong leadership, good planning and steady civic support, NDSU built and/or renovated buildings, relocated entire programs downtown and successfully addressed key issues such as parking.
"If Grand Forks brings the same elements to bear," Mr. Dennis continues, "a downtown campus likewise could be opened here to the benefit of both the...