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Hunt opens IDeATe spaces

Members of the Carnegie Mellon community have teamed up this summer to rethink the way students use Hunt Library.

The university is currently completing renovations to the basement, first floor, and second floor of the library to provide studio spaces and labs for the university’s new Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology (IDeATe) program, a set of interdisciplinary concentrations and minors that explore how students can collaborate to present what they learn at the university across a variety of medias spanning technology and the arts.

The IDeATe program includes eight concentrations and minors: animation and special effects, entrepreneurship for creative industries, game design, intelligent environment, learning media, media design, physical computing, and sound design, according to the program’s website.

Students can enroll in an IDeATe concentration or minor during their sophomore or junior years.

The program is set to launch this fall with classes housed in the library. Two studios will be available on the first floor for classes, as well as for students to use when classes are not being taught.

Thanassis Rikakis, vice provost for design, arts and technology, described the studios as spaces that will be open 24/7 and available to all students. Almost all items placed in the studios, such as tables, chairs, and screens, will be on wheels so that students can rearrange them to fit their needs. Ri- kakis said the studios are meant to encourage team collaboration.

“You come to Carnegie Mellon from many areas, but one key reason is learning through making by collaborating with diverse cohorts, and the library should signal that,” Rikakis said about the reason for including the IDeATe program’s facilities in the library. Despite an overhaul of the first floor, the Global Communications Center, which was installed in the library in 2012, will remain in its usual location, as well as the Maggie Murph Café and the study locations surrounding the café.

Below the studios, in the basement, will be the IDeATe program’s labs, including a room painted black to allow for easy motion capture and rooms housing laser cutters and 3-D printers, among other equipment. The university intends for the labs, like the studios, to be open 24/7, according to Rikakis.

In order to use much of the equipment in the labs, students will have to pass a portal course, or introductory course open to all students. The portal courses serve as prerequisites for the concentrations and minors offered by the program.

There will also be a location in the basement for students to borrow various portable machines, like laptops, so that they can create their own virtual classrooms in the library. Basement areas that students previously frequented, such as the three brightly colored study rooms and computer cluster, will remain.

The library’s video collection, previously housed in the basement, will be relocated to the second floor of the library to bring the collection out in the open, according to Keith Webster, dean of libraries. Other collections affected by the introduction of the IDeATe program will also be moved to upper levels of the library.

Additionally, on the second floor will be a new faculty lounge for industry partners who will teach courses within the IDeATe program. Rikakis said that a lounge, as opposed to an office, was constructed for these partners — who could include someone like an employee of Intel or Disney — so that people can simply walk in and meet them.

Webster said about the decision to integrate the IDeATe program into Hunt Library that those who visit libraries do not use printed materials as they once did, but people still use libraries because they represent a place of learning. He explained that people once interacted with printed words in libraries to create knowledge, but now interact with various forms of media to create the knowledge they seek. He said people today use libraries to connect with new technologies.

The inclusion of the program in the library “signals that what we want is to represent the evolution of the library and to recognize that we are positioned physically at the heart of the campus and we want to be at the heart of the student experience,” Webster said.

He continued, “That intersection that Carnegie Mellon is uniquely placed to offer between arts, design, and technology is absolutely core to the student experience.”

Construction of the new collaborative studios and labs began in mid-June and is expected to be completed by mid-September, Rikakis said.

During construction, the building needed to be refit- ted with ventilation systems and other components to ad- dress concerns related to the new activities that students will be able to perform in the basement labs, such as laser cutting.

Rikakis said equipment, such as screens and other technology, will be moved into the studios as the semester begins.