Poucher Hall earns interior design award

students meetSince reopening in January, the redesigned Poucher Hall has received rave reviews from SUNY Oswego’s campus community. Now it can claim a prestigious professional award as well.

Poucher won “Best of Competition” in the educational category of the American Society of Interior Designers’ New York Upstate/Canada East Chapter competition.

The redesign was a collaboration between SUNY Oswego’s Office of Facilities Design and Construction and Ashley McGraw Architects PC.

Completed in 1963, Poucher started as an elementary school-style building adminstering Oswego’s campus school.

“In our planning for the renovation of Poucher, we listened to the faculty and staff members that would be using the space,” explained Tedra Pratt, the interiors coordinator for facilities design and construction. “Their biggest request was to create a comfortable space for students and faculty and staff to meet.”

Surveys found a need for common areas to serve several functions while enriching both academics and a sense of community. “We heard from students that they would like areas to hang out, do homework, and work on group projects between classes without having to leave the building,” Pratt said.

imageAnyone walking through Poucher Hall before and after renovations would notice a difference. Gone are the long, yellow-walled hallways, replaced by lounges with couches and workstations, ample natural light, and glass-paneled classrooms with new technology and modular furniture.

“We designed Poucher to be an open environment with a central area for faculty offices and classrooms to open up into collaborative space,” Pratt said. “We created three different types of seating in this area: soft and comfortable, tables and chairs, and the computer niches. By making the classrooms open with lots of glass, students, faculty and staff can see what type of activities may be going on.”

Pratt added that the design team knew the project succeeded when seeing students filling the common areas, faculty interacting with students and the expressions of potential students on admissions tours.

In addition to Pratt, the project design team included Tom Simmonds and Allen Bradberry from SUNY Oswego, and Diane Brandli, Bob Haley, Jun Shin and Calvin Ahn from Ashley McGraw.

“The most successful projects are the result of a quality team and a commitment to teamwork,” said Brandli, the director of interior design for Ashley McGraw Architects. The architectural firm, which is also working with the campus on a program study for the School of Education, submitted the entry for the ASID award.

The award region includes all of New York state outside of New York City and cities like Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. “This means our project was competing with projects from some of the largest firms in the U.S. and Canada,” Brandli said.

Pratt noted that the honor reinforces the hard work of many people as campus renewal continues. “At a time when construction is strong on campus, our design team is working hard to create innovative spaces for learning and living on campus,” she said. “This award gives us a feeling of satisfaction but also encouragement for future projects.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Poucher pride—SUNY Oswego’s redesigned Poucher Hall recently earned a “Best in Competition” regional award from the American Society of Interior Decorators, the largest organization in its field. Top photo:Light, glass-filled spaces like the Office of Learning Support, where graduate education student Clayton Cameron (left) talks with junior political science major Alexander Chadeau, was one of many features that impressed judges. Bottom photo: Senior adolescence education and English major Sarah Scherer reads in one of the comfortable central common lounges outside a glass-walled modular classroom.

(Posted: Sep 06, 2006)