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VIDEOS: UC Students Envision Creative Space for HGTV’s Network

Scripps Networks Interactive, home of television channels like HGTV, DIY, Food Network, Travel Channel and others, asked UC architecture and interior design students to envision a new creative space for the network.

Date: 6/18/2011 12:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Students in HGTV studio

UC ingot   Students in the University of Cincinnati’s top-ranked School of Architecture and Interior Design, part of UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), have been envisioning a new creative space for Scripps Networks Interactive (SNI), home to HGTV, DIY, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and GAC.

SNI and UC decided to collaborate on the project as an outgrowth of UC’s nationally ranked cooperative education program. Cooperative education, or co-op, is the practice wherein students alternate quarters or semesters in the classroom with quarters or semester of professionally paid work related directly to their major. UC is the global founder of co-op, starting the world’s first co-op program in 1906, and UC’s co-op program is ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report.

According to Ann Black, associate professor in UC’s School of Architecture and Interior Design (SAID), the relationship between UC and SNI began when the network began hiring UC co-op students to work at the company’s headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn. The relationship has grown from that beginning, and one result is the spring quarter studio where UC students were asked to envision the exterior and interior of a future “Home Studio” for SNI’s Knoxville headquarters.

The UC effort to envision a new space for SNI, had been led by Black, by Edson Cabalfin, assistant professor in UC’s School of Architecture and Interior Design, and by Conor Brady, adjunct instructor. The goal was to brainstorm ideas for an SNI education and conference center dedicated to the advancement of residential design. The new structure will likely be the third building on the SNI campus, which already consists of two buildings.

According to Sarah Cronan, chair of SNI’s Home Studio, which encompasses the HGTV and DIY channels, “Our collaboration with UC’s students is a first step in order to envision a new education and conference center dedicated to residential design.  This collaboration is helping us to ask questions about the space, which must be a multipurpose space. Future users of this space must be able to see, touch, feel and bring to life the best and the latest in interior design.”

According to Melissa Sykes, vice president of content diversity for Scripps Networks, the relationship between SNI and UC is a natural fit: “UC houses the No. 1 interior design program in the country. Our goal as a network is to improve lives by means of improved spaces where people live and work. So, tapping into the best student and teaching talent in interior design makes perfect sense.”

And she added, “So far, the process has been seamless. The collaboration has come about speedily and efficiently, and we’ve been tremendously impressed with the extraordinary capabilities of the UC students.”
Level 1 image from students' design
Rendering of a space envisioned by UC students Diana Stercula, Jacquie Showalter and Allen Fee. See more of their concepts in the video below.

Those students worked in small groups and developed a range of concepts – aided by a two-day trip to SNI’s campus – in order to study the site and the existing structures.

One group of students consisting of Megan Rieger, 20, a third-year interior design student from Webster, N.Y., Adnane Fadadi, 23, a third-year architecture student from Morocco, and Melissa Syler, 22, a fourth-year interior design student from Louisville, Ohio, created a concept a half submerged home and garden space that lived lightly in the environment by making maximum use of daylight and of radiant heating and cooling.

“It’s a space that blurs the boundaries between inside and outside,” said Syler, adding, “It totals 40,000 square feet and can both fit a large group of 900 to 1,000 people in a large conference but also contains nooks where people can get away for research on a laptop or thinking through ideas.”

The space also includes “vignette” space, rooms where the furnishings and décor model the latest trends, which could be used for small-group huddles in working through ideas, and a resource library.

“The scope of this project is very broad,” explained Rieger, “We have to think like planners, architects, interior designers, educators, marketers, digital media specialists and accountants. Just as SNI will have to consider factors like site planning, access, design, education and cost, we have to do the same.”

Another student group – comprised of Diana Stercula, a third-year interior design student from Medina, Ohio; Jacquie Showalter, a fourth-year interior design student from Athens, Ohio, and Allen Fee, a third-year architecture student from Williamsburg, Ohio – took a different approach. SEE images of this group's work in the video below.

They envisioned a new SNI center that reflects the essence of the concept of “home.” They want the new space to reflect the comfort, familiarity and intimacy of “home.”

To begin the design process, each drew a floor plan of his or her own childhood home. They asked questions about how each student’s family used that family home.

The result is a structure of four levels staggered into a hillside with several entrances, and integration of indoor and outdoor spaces. Much of the interior space is flexible – in much the same way as a typical home’s bedroom might actually serve as an office, or a basement might serve as storage or might be a media room.

“There are flexible rooms that can be reconfigured to different purposes but also rooms where the purpose is defined. For instance, there’s a room that could be used to show a design for a studio apartment or a finished kitchen. There’s a kitchen and café for the SNI employees who use the space, huddle rooms, vignette spaces, show rooms, tech room and archival space,” said Stercula.

The group even makes use of the building’s roof, which features green walls of plants and secluded u-shaped seating areas with trellises of greenery on three sides and overhead.