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Trent Price

Architecture and Sustainability Student


19700 14 Mile Rd. Apt. B205
Big Rapids, MI 49307
Larry Schult
Dean of the College of Engineering Technology
Ferris State University
Johnson Hall 200
Big Rapids, MI 49307

Dear Mr. Larry Schult,


I am a junior at Ferris State University and am in the architecture and sustainability program. I
have put together a report that looks over a concern of mine. The attached report analyzes the
schedule and access of the design studios for the architecture students at Ferris State University
and recommends a plan to allow full time (24/7) access to the studios. Research was conducted
for this report and it revealed that many other nationally recognized universities allow full time
access to design studios for their students.
In addition this report examines the importance of design studios being open full time. The
importance of collaboration and student interaction is addressed as well as the benefits that 24/7
access can bring to the university. Full time access can help Ferris architecture program be
closer to achieving the same academic status as other highly recognized universities and can also
potentially bring in more students to the program. After conducting the research I have
established that it is possible for Ferris State University to effectively and safely allow full time
access to the design studios without any major disruptions in the way the building functions
currently.
I hope that you review this report and consider adding key card access to the Swan building that
allows the architecture students full time access to their studios. I appreciate your time and
consideration in reviewing this report and would be pleased to discuss this report and my
recommendations further.
Sincerely,

Trent Price
Architecture and Sustainability Student
Ferris State University
Pricet15@ferris.edu
(517) 414 2069

24 Hour Access to Architecture Studios Analysis and Plan

Prepared for the


Dean of the College of Engineering Technology

Prepared by
Trent Price
Ferris State University

December 7, 2014

Table of Contents

Executive Summary........1
Introduction.2
Architecture Background2
Background at Ferris State University2
Problem...3
Benefits of 24 Hour Access4
Recommendation....6
Conclusion..6
Appendix I..8
Works Cited..10

Executive Summary
This report examines the importance that Ferris State University allows full time (24/7)
access to design studios for the architecture students. The purpose of this report is to provide the
Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology, Larry Schult, with important information as
to why architecture students need 24/7 access to their studios. My recommendation will be
presented at the end of this report.
The history of architectural education started with interning. Before the 19th century
architects did not receive their education at a college or university, they studied under
experienced architects. Today, architecture studios follow the aspects from the 150 year old
Ecole des Beaux Art training. Here at Ferris State University architecture education started as
hand drafting in the 1950s and after some time was turned into a two year program. The two
year Associate degree lasted until 2010. In 2010, the four year Bachelor of Science in
Architecture and Sustainability was born, with the first class graduating in 2012.
Not allowing full time access to design studios is a big problem for architecture students.
The Swan building holds all of the architecture classes and is open until 11 p.m. during the week
and 6 p.m. on the weekends. This is a problem because students only have a limited time in the
studio because it closes when the building closes. On the weekends students do not have early
morning classes so they have the opportunity to stay up late and work on homework, but they
cant do that because the studios close at 6 in the evening. This becomes an even bigger problem
for students who work. They not only have to schedule time to be in the studio around regular
class hours but also around work as well.
There are many benefits of keeping the architecture studios accessible 24/7. One of the
benefits is that Ferris will be one step closer to achieving the same academic status as some of
the top architecture schools in the nation. The University of Michigan is ranked 5th in the top
architecture programs in the nation and they allow full time access to all of the architecture
studios. Another benefit is it allows more time for collaboration, and collaboration is a key part
in design. Architecture is very social and a lot of your job is dealing with clients and working
with others to come up with the best design possible. The more you collaborate with others the
more experience and understanding you will have of what the real world is like.
I know one of the biggest factors is safety. The university can allow full time access
while keeping the students, facility, and the equipment in the building safe. The university can
implement key card access or something similar like Middlebury College has done. Middlebury
College is a liberal arts school that allows 24/7 access to a lot of their facilities. They do this
through key card access and alarms that are directly linked to their Public Safety Department.
Allowing full time access would prevent students from sneaking in or trying to get in after
regular hours. If access is allowed you could monitor the building after hours and that would
ensure the safety of the students and the building.
I recommend that the architecture studios in the Swan building be accessible 24/7 by
architecture students by key card access. All the doors of the Swan building could still be locked
at the regular business hours, but one door could have key card access. At the beginning of the
year every architecture student gets a key card that will access one door at the Swan building and
each studio can be accessed by a key code like the junior and senior studios have now. This
would limit it to only the architecture students who could get in after hours, and it would also
ensure that they can only get into their studios and no any other room. This guarantees student
and facility safety.

Introduction
This report examines the importance of 24/7 access to the Ferris State University architecture
studios. The purpose of this report is to provide Mr. Larry Schult, the Dean of the College of
Engineering Technology with an assessment of the lack of student access to the architecture
studios on Ferris campus. Recommendations for this problem are presented in this report.

Architecture Background
In architecture school design studios teach critical thinking and design solutions while putting
the students in a collaborative environment. Design studios are the core of the architectural
education. These studio courses have the biggest projects and the most credit hours. They are
very intense and time demanding. Over 115 schools in the United States have design studio
based architecture programs and every one of them offers a different culture.
The history of architectural education can help define studio culture. Before the 19th century
architects did not get their education at a university. Architects got their education by interning
and studying under experienced architects. The modern architecture education came about during
the Ecole des Beaux Art period in 1850. By the 20th century most schools had Beaux Arts trained
professors, and they dominated the architectural education. The Bauhaus, which lasted from
1919 to 1933, had a lot of influence on architectural education in America. The features of
todays studio culture, long hours, intense critiques, and focus on schematic solutions, arose from
those 150 year old systems. The architecture education today is now dominated by design studio
classes while taking other classes that deal with site design and environmental systems at the
same time. The design studios are rigorous, time intensive courses and often require more time
working outside of class than normal.
Background at Ferris State University
Architectural education at Ferris began in the late 1950s as architectural drafting.
Students would learn to hand draft and were taught the beginning elements of architecture. After
the architectural drafting classes continued for a few years it eventually turned into a two year
program where you could receive an Associate in Applied Science in Architectural Technology.
The option to receive the Architectural Technology degree continued until 2010 when Ferris
State University added the option to continue the architecture education and earn a Bachelor of
Science in Architecture and Sustainability. Today, you can get your Architectural Technology
degree and then you have the option to branch off into three different fields. You are able to
branch off into Facility Management or Construction Management. You also have the choice of
continuing in architecture and stay in the Architecture and Sustainability program. Currently I
am a junior in the Architecture and Sustainability program and expect to continue my education
here at Ferris next year. One thing I have noticed here at Ferris that sets us apart from other
schools that offer architecture programs is our design studio. We do not allow 24 hour access to
our architecture studios.

Problem

Architecture students are required to take studio classes, and these classes are have the heaviest
workloads and require the most time to complete the projects. Students have studio class twice a
week, one class being five hours long, and the other being four hours long which totals nine
hours of studio class a week. The general rule of thumb is for every hour you spend in class you
spend three hours working outside of class. For architecture students that is twenty seven hours
that you should be working outside of class.
Architecture projects require a lot of materials and equipment, and dragging materials back and
forth from our apartment or dorm room to class can be a big hassle. To make it easier students
leave a lot of the materials required to complete a projects in their studios. The junior and senior
studios are locked and only accessible with a key code so it is safe for students to leave
materials, equipment, and utensils there. Since architecture studios have generally twenty seven
hours of work a week outside of class a lot of them go to their studios to get it done because they
have their materials and utensils there.
Most of the required classes for the architecture program take place in the Swan building, which
is also where the studios are located. During the week the Swan building closes at 11 p.m. and on
the weekends it closes at 6 p.m. This is where the problem occurs, especially on the weekends.
Students need to be in studio to get a lot of their projects done and if you work on the weekends
and dont get out of work until after 6 p.m. then the Swan building is locked and you cannot get
into studio to do any work. The weekend is when students do not have early classes so they have
the opportunity to stay up late and work throughout the night on their projects, but if the Swan
building closes at 6 p.m. that inhibits them from working on their studio projects. This also
becomes a problem with students who have jobs. A lot of students work to pay off school and
they work after they have classes. These students have to work around not only their class
schedule but their work schedule as well. Class and work take up a lot of time for students so
they may only have time to work on their projects during odd hours. If a student does not have
the option to work on school work during regular building hours then they get locked out of the
design studio. A student should not be punished by not being able to finish a project because they
were trying to pay for their education by working.
By not allowing anytime access to the architecture studios Ferris is impeding on the students
education. 24/7 access to the design studios will allow students to work more on their projects
and get them done in a more timely manner. This would prevent students from having to stay up
for multiple nights in a row before projects are due. Being awake that long is not good for
students health and it also reflects on their presentations, which is a big part of our grade. If we
pull all-nighters we are visibly tired and sloppy during our presentations. 24/7 access also allows
for students to get more collaboration time with other students, and in the architecture field
collaboration is a key part of the design process and the education.
If the architecture students had access to their design studios 24/7 they could achieve more
successful work because more time could be spent on their projects. The Ferris architecture
program would also achieve the same status as the majority of other schools around the nation
because most architecture programs offer 24/7 access.

Benefits of 24 Hour Access


Ferris architectural studios should be accessible by students 24/7 because there are many other
schools around Michigan and around the nation as well that offer that option to their students.
One of the top undergraduate architecture programs in the country, University of Michigan,
allows 24/7 access to the design studios. Other schools around our area that have architecture
programs and also allow full time access are Lawrence Technological University, the University
of Illinois, and Penn State University. If we allow 24/7 access to design studios for the students
we will be one step closer to achieving the same status as some of the top architecture schools in
the nation.
Achieving the same status as other architecture schools is really important. The University of
Michigan is ranked the 5th top architectures school in the country. If the architecture program at
Ferris is more like the program at Michigan than we could potentially have more students apply
for the program. The more students we have in our program the more highly recognized our
program will be. A highly recognized program will be good for students after graduating and
may help them attain a job or get into graduate school.
Another benefit of 24/7 access is that it allows students to be more collaborative and will help
them with the design process. If students are allowed more time in the studio than this gives them
more time with fellow students which gives them a chance to collaborate and learn from each
other. Collaboration is a key part in the design process in architecture school. The AIAS,
American Institute of Architecture Students, wrote a report about the design studio and in that
report they explained about the importance of the design process and collaboration. One thing
that was specified was Architecture is a social art, involving countless voices and agendas. Its
success is dependent on the application of knowledge from multiple disciplines and
perspectives. (Koch, pg. 13). Knowledge from different disciplines and perspectives is
collaboration, and if that is was success is dependent on than we, as a university, should be
giving students the most opportunities to collaborate with one another. And that can be done
through 24/7 access to the design studios. The same report also stated No one doubts that design
professionals need to function more effectively within a multicultural society (Koch, pg. 19). If
there is more collaboration in the studio this bring more diverse and multicultural ideas around.
This will help the students not only in the education world but it will also continue with them to
the work place.
During the first two years of the architectural education here at Ferris you learn how to hand
draft, read construction documents, and use computer programs such as AutoCad, Revit, and
Adobe Photoshop. When learning how to hand draft students use drafting tables to create very
straight, precise lines on paper. The freshman studio offers drafting tables for the freshman to use
during class periods and during the regular building hours. But if freshman students need extra
time do homework or projects after building hours they cannot finish it because they cant access
the drafting tables. These drafting tables are not cheap and they are not small. Even if a freshman
did buy one there would be no room in there dorms to store or use them. As a sophomore you
learn 3D modeling programs and a lot of the Adobe programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and
InDesign. All of these programs are very expensive and the sophomores are not required to buy

these because they might branch off into Facility Management or Construction Management
where they will not need to use these programs. The computers in the sophomore studio come
equipped with all these programs so this is the only place they are able to work on their projects
and other homework. If they have work to finish but the Swan building is closed then they just
have to turn it in unfinished or turn it in late which is not fair for the students. The juniors and
seniors have actual design studio classes which take up nine hours a week. This comes out to 27
hours outside of class that the students should be working. With this huge chunk of time for just
one class juniors and seniors are going to need the studio to be open as much as possible. I know
there have been nights where I needed to be in studio until very late but have not been able to
because the building was closed and I was not able to get in. If the studio was full access I would
have been able to access all my materials and research to finish my work.
For architecture students, the studio is like our library. It is a place for us to work on h
omework, study, or meet with groups. An article about academic libraries states how important it
is to have a place, outside of your living area, to go and study or work. Students still demand
longer library hours to have a place to study. Academic libraries are a refuge for those who live
in noisy dorms or need a place conducive to study. (MacWhinnie pg. 243). The design studio
gives students a place to study while also giving them a place to socialize with other architecture
students in between their classes. Providing access to these spaces has an important impact on
students education.

Safety
I know one of the biggest obstacles in allowing full time access safety. The University
has safety concerns about the students, the facility, and also the expensive equipment inside the
building. This can obviously be overcome since many other schools allow 24/7 access to their
architectural studios. This also can be done on the Ferris State campus because one of the
buildings on campus already has full time access to students. Students who are in the video
editing program have classes in the IRC building. Their lab is accessible full time so students can
work on projects whenever they please. FLITE Library also has a small section that is open 24
hours. This area is frequently packed with many students after regular hours, especially around
midterms and finals. A third area on campus that is also 24/7 are resident halls. The resident halls
are accessible with key card access and they are functional at all hours of the day.
Middleburry College in Middleburry, Vermont is a liberal arts school that allows access to their
facilities 24/7. They have also explained how they make this possible and how they make this
safe. They designate key cards to students that can be swiped at doors, and if your card allows
you access the door will unlock. They also have their card access system hooked up to an alarm.
An alarm will be activated at the Public Safety monitoring station if someone attempts entry
with an invalid card, a doors forced or propped open, or if tampering with the components of the
system occurs. (Card Access System).
This could be something that is possible for Ferris to use and they could take into consideration.
Ferris has a Department of Public Safety that could be alerted if anything went wrong. We also

have employees who work for DPS at night that could be alerted if anything happened after
regular building hours.
Allowing 24/7 access would make Ferris campus safer. Right now we are not allowed to be
inside the Swan building after it closes, but some students still find a way to either stay in our
studio all night, or come into the studio after regular hours. Some students will sit in studio and
stay until after hours. Others will prop a door open or make it so the door is unable to close
completely so they can sneak in after the building closes. By offering full time access, this would
prevent students from tampering with the doors, sneaking inside the building, or staying in the
building without approval. You could also monitor the building if it was accessible at all times
which would ensure safety.

Recommendation
After researching safety issues and other universitys studio policies I have come up with a
recommendation that could safely solve the issue of architecture students not being able to access
their studios 24/7. My recommendation is that the SWAN building close the same times it
currently does, but have key card access for the architecture students. At the beginning of the
year the students can be given a special key in which they can access the doors at the Swan
building. This would ensure that only the architecture students have access to the building after
closing. Also, all the classroom doors could be locked just the same as well, but all the
architecture studios either have the same type of keypad access or a key card installed where they
can only get into their studios. If both the SWAN building and only the architecture studios have
key cards that would guarantee that the students could not access anywhere else inside the
building. This would keep both the students, the building, and any university property safe.
Another thing that could be done to assure security is to have the entrance doors of the SWAN
building be hooked up to an alarm. This alarm could trigger if anyone tried to access the building
after hours without a valid card, if the door was forced open, or if the key card access was
tampered with. The alarm could then alert Ferris public safety and they could check out the
cause of the alarm. This would allow the architecture students to create better work and work
more efficiently while keeping the students and building safe.

Conclusion
The research conducted shows that it would be beneficial for the university and the
architecture students to allow 24/7 access to their design studios. The Architecture and
Sustainability program would be one step closer to competing with the University of Michigan.
The architecture students would be able to collaborate more which simulates what the working
environment after graduating is like since you are always working with clients and other
architects and designers. The current arrangement of limited access to the architecture studios
inhibits the best possible learning environment for students. Ferris State University should
implement the all recommendation included above as supported by my research.

Appendix I
Architecture Studio
In architecture school design studios teach critical thinking and puts the students in a
collaborative environment. Design studios are the core of the architectural education. These
studio courses have the biggest projects and the most credit hours. They are very intense and
time demanding. Over 115 schools in the United States have design studio based architecture
programs and every one of them offers a different culture.
The history of architectural education can help define studio culture. Before the 19th century
architects did not get their education at a university. Architects got their education by interning
and studying under experienced architects. The modern architecture education came about during
the Ecole des Beaux Art period in 1850. By the 20th century most schools had Beaux Arts trained
professors, and they dominated the architectural education. The Bauhaus, which lasted from
1919 to 1933, had a lot of influence on architectural education in America. The features of
todays studio culture, long house, intense critiques, and focus on schematic solutions, arose
from those 150 year old systems.
Facts about studio culture:
73% of architecture students agree that they often feel isolated.
28% of architecture students said they spend no time on extracurricular activites.
For every 1 hour in class you are supposed to spend 3 hours outside of class. That is 15
hours of work for just 1 class session.
Facts about the architecture program at Ferris:
Started out as architectural drafting in the 1950s.
Then changed into a two year Architecture Technology program.
Added the four year Architecture and Sustainability program in 2010.
Studio classes average around 15 people.
Access to Ferris architecture studios:
The architecture building (SWAN) closes at 11 p.m. during the week.
Closes at 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Junior and Senior studios are always locked and accessible with a code through a keypad.
Freshman and sophomore studios are open for anyone to come in.
Access around Ferris:
Resident halls have 24 hour access through key card.
The IRC is accessible 24/7 for video editing students.
24/7 access to section of the library.
Architecture schools in Michigan:
There are 22 accredited architecture programs in Michigan.
The top schools for an undergrad degree are University of Michigan and Lawrence
Technological University.

University of Michigan is ranked number 5 in best architecture programs in the United


States.
Both Lawrence Tech. and University of Michigan have 24/7 access to their architecture
studios.

Facts about 24/7 access:


Access can be granted with an id card.
Alarms can be activated if someone attempts entry with an invalid card or if a door is
forced open.
Can control what areas inside a building students can access with key codes.
Alarms can be triggered to alert public safety.
Design studios are essential in the architectural education. Even with constant electronic access
to university websites students still demand longer library and studio hours, or other places to
study. Academic libraries and studios can be a refuge for students who live in noisy dorms or
need a more private secluded place to work. The studio is a natural gathering place for
architecture students to collaborate. Collaboration is a key part of the design process in
architectural education and the design process is as important as the final product.

Works Cited

"Campus Computing Sites Hours." ITS. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2014.
"Card Access System." Middlebury. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Nov. 2014.
Koch, Aaron, Katherine Schwennsen, Thomas A. Dutton, and Deanna Smith.The Redesign of
Studio Culture: A Report of the AIAS Studio Culture Task Force. Rep. Washington DC: AIAS,
2002. Print.
Macwhinnie, Laurie A. "The Information Commons: The Academic Library Of The Future."
Portal: Libraries and the Academy 3.2 (2003): 241-57. The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Web. 7 Nov. 2014.
"Studio Culture." Studio Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Nov. 2014.