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Why go green only on Unofficial?

It seems everyone is going green at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this March. Dance at Illinois and the School of Architecture are no exception. However, their version of green is a bit less Irish and a bit more eco-friendly.

Dance at Illinois and the School of Architecture are collaboratively designing and building a new graduate dance rehearsal space to be built as an architectural installment.  The space will be built through the use of environmentally sustainable building practices.

The Department of Dance currently has 20,000 square feet of studio and office space.  While the figure may seem adequate, classes and rehearsals, scheduled from 8 am to 10 pm, make most spaces inaccessible on weekdays.  For this reason, graduate students lack a proper facility for creative research.

Enter the School of Architecture.

Architecture faculty members Roger Hubeli and Julie Larsen are conducting an architectural seminar this semester to design and build a dance rehearsal space on the second floor of the East Art Annex 2.  The seminar challenges students to use primarily recycled products in their designs. 

Already the students have secured the remains from an old basketball court at the Activities Recreation Center (ARC) to create the sprung hardwood floor of the studio.  Research is being done to find other existing, reusable materials to use in both the construction of the space itself and of the furniture it will contain.

Designing the floating studio as an installation in its beginning stage provides dancers with a temporary solution while the university seeks financial support for the project.  The studio will eventually be dismantled and reinstalled, as the whole building will be renovated and brought up to LEED Certification in the project’s final stages.

LEED, or the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building rating system that was developed in 1998 by the U.S. Green Building Council.  It provides a list of standards for environmentally sustainable construction. 

Robert Graves, Dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts, recognizes the creativity and the resourcefulness of the collaborative project. Says Graves, “The efficient use of recycled materials as well as the unique cooperation between faculty and students in both Architecture and Dance demonstrates that the Campus can do things in a truly imaginative manner that furthers both our goals in education and in making the campus a more sustainable environment.”

The project meets the University goals as described by the Strategic Plan, through the incorporation of technology and the arts, as well as through the promotion of health and wellness to the campus at large.  There is hope that this collaboration will spark national discussion about ways in which to promote a more environmentally responsible campus.

After all, why should Unofficial be the only day of the year that we go green?

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