GCAD Set to Open Doors January 2020

The construction of the Gruss Center for Art and Design (GCAD), previously named the Gruss Center for Visual Arts, is set to finish this coming January.

The construction of the Gruss Center for Art and Design (GCAD), previously named the Gruss Center for Visual Arts, is set to finish this coming January. According to its mission statement, GCAD aims to “pull together collaborative energy from all departments, extending the Harkness table by providing space for experimental and project-based learning.”

Head Master Stephen S. Murray H’55 ’65 P’16, the Board of Trustees, and The Workshop, a consulting firm, collaborated to form the objectives behind GCAD. Throughout the construction process, they worked to “ensure the building is made appropriately and thoughtfully in the context of the Bowl and the current architecture,” Murray said.

Founded in 2016, The Workshop is a digital consulting firm based in New York City and Madrid. “We do everything from brand identity to web [and] video design to interactive displays and even marketing services,” said Curt Middleton, the Chief Creative Officer at The Workshop. According to Middleton, the firm’s primary challenge concerning GCAD is to ensure that all Lawrenceville students are aware and are taking advantage of of GCAD’s course offerings and other opportunities.

Over the summer, Rex Brodie was named the new Director of Design and Fabrication in GCAD.

His own goal for the center is to make it “a place [where] people from all disciplines [can] come together to solve problems and do creative things as they use the technology [provided].”

GCAD will be comprised of three primary parts: the Hutchins galleries, the studio art area, and interdisciplinary Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics center or makerspace. The makerspace will consist of 4,000 square feet of workshop space meant to foster innovation and hands-on learning and is roughly three times the size of Kirby Math and Science Center. It hopes to offer several interdisciplinary classes, such as the Lewis and Clark canoe-building class, which will combine the history of the Lewis and Clark expedition with the craft of canoe-building. The model canoe is currently on display in the science atrium of the Kirby Math and Science Center. GCAD will also include woodworking and metal shops, 3D printers, and meeting spaces for student-run clubs.

The Workshop is currently creating a website for GCAD that will describe the building’s resources and display student works. Once construction is complete, Middleton and his team will install additional screens around the building that will serve to showcase student work. “It is worth noting, however, that nothing’s really set in stone,” Middleton said, “We’re still scoping everything out, but, of course, GCAD has the potential to incorporate any number of features.”

One important aspect of the GCAD design process is extensive student involvement, particularly through the GCAD Student Task Force. V Former Emily Matcham, a member of the task force, was glad to see that “[The Workshop] was great to work with and very receptive to [students’] comments,” including feedback on the recent GCAD dynamic logo. Faculty members also voiced their inputs on the vision for GCAD.

The Workshop hopes GCAD will serve as a dynamic workspace, reflecting the School community’s “creative energy.” Middleton said, “The center itself is going to celebrate originality and collaboration, so we want [GCAD] to feel almost celebratory [...] [GCAD] should be a place where people are free to experiment.”

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