Thursday, October 28, 2021

Center for the Arts Announces Exciting Project

Photos by Samantha Husted | Bruce Graev answers questions about the project.

Photos by Samantha Husted | Bruce Graev answers questions about the project.

By Samantha Husted

On March 10th the Marco Island Center for the Arts unveiled an upcoming project with Cornell University.

Bruce Graev, a Cornell University alumnus and Center for the Arts board member, is spearheading the partnership. He announced that the Center for the Arts was selected by the Cornell University Department of Architecture to take part in a collaborative design project.

Come April 1st, the Center for the Arts will play host to a group of graduate and postgraduate Cornell University architecture students. The students, under the guidance of Professor Kent L. Hubbell, Cornell University Professor in the Department of Architecture, will spend the week creating possible design ideas for a stressed membrane/fabric structure.

“We have the privilege of having a group of these students come down to Marco Island to work with the Center for the Arts and looking at the possibility of stretch fabric structures,” said Bruce Graev.

The proposed stressed membrane structures, which are constructed out of fiberglass and Teflon, are used all over the world, despite being a relatively new technology. They look like big, white canopies, with dramatic swooping angles. According to Graev, the structures are energy efficient, structurally sound and could be “designed to work very well in a place like Marco Island.” The structures have also been shown to lower operational costs. Examples of these structures can be found across the United States from the Rosa Parks Transit Center in Detroit, Michigan to the Denver International Airport in Colorado.

The students will be participating in the “Option Studio” portion of their class, which began in January at Cornell. The Center of the Arts and Marco Island will act as their Studio for the week.

“This Studio puts a premium on experimentation and encourages risk-taking in the interest of pursuing innovative design solutions,” said Professor Hubbell. “We utilize both physical and computational models in pursuit of these goals. The Art Center is the perfect venue for the students to construct models in a place where there’s light and air surrounding and influencing them.”

During their week on the island, the students will have the opportunity to learn about our culture, ecology, and history. The students will design the structures with that information in mind. Portions of the event will be open to the public, allowing the students and residents to interact.

“We’re thrilled that Cornell University has chosen the Marco Island Center for the Arts as its base to explore this exciting new art and architecture form,” said Marco Island Center for the Arts Executive Director, Hyla Crane. “Board member Bruce Graev, a Cornell alumnus, was instrumental in introducing the Arts Center to Professor Hubbell, and the partnership evolved from there.”

At the moment there are no actual plans in place to build the stressed membrane/fabric structures, though it’s not out of the question. As of now the students are simply coming to design.

“The Center for the Arts has constantly looked at expanding the definitions of arts and how we can bring arts into our community,” said Bruce Graev. “We started almost 50 years ago as a small art league and we’ve expanded to many, many areas of visual arts, to performing arts. We’re looking forward to possibly look at architectural art.”

Marco Island Center for the Arts is located at 1010 Winterberry Drive, Marco Island. For further information call 239-394-4221.

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