Ikon.5 architects showcased possible furniture options for the Healey Family Student Center in order to gauge student opinion at an open forum in McShain Lounge on Monday evening.

“The challenge of this project is how to transform New South, which is a pretty banal, very functional building, which can be found on any campus … into a student center that feels like it belongs to the culture of Georgetown,” ikon.5 principal architect Joe Tattoni said.

The firm selected furniture options that will serve functionally in the large multipurpose space,which will be utilized as a social, entertainment, study and meeting space.

“There are conflicting ideas that needed to be expressed in the facility as well as accommodated in the furniture,” architect Alan Coopper said.

The large space will be divided into different furniture groupings. Chairs and ottomans that can be grouped together or used individually will line the wall of windows overlooking the Potomac. The center lounge area of the room will include L-shaped couch units, ottomans and tables. Additionally, two rows of restaurant-like booths will be situated near the entrance of the planned pub.

The furniture options that are under consideration are versatile and movable.

“Flexibility is an important aspect. You need to be able to move things around and change things out. You don’t want it all set in one particular way, because it might need to be something else the next day or the next week,” Coopper said.

At the conclusion of the presentation, students were invited to test samples of the chairs and ottomans under consideration and complete a questionnaire indicating their preferences.

About 10 students attended the forum.

“I think [the furniture] fits the area well. They have a variety. … It’s good to have seating for the students reading [as well as] the students who come with a laptop to do homework that way,” forum attendee David Lizza (COL ’15) said.

Architects also presented two design options for a class giving wall that will be located alongside the set of stairs connecting the ground floor promenade to the first floor lobby.

The first option featured several vertical wooden panels of different heights and widths that ascended with the stairs. Plaques showing class gifts would be overlaid on top of the wood.

“We really wanted to try to bring the wood back into the space to warm the space up a little bit,” architect Chris Hayes said. “The idea was to pick up on the walnut that’s being used throughout the space, as well as provide a little bit of protection on the wall as you’re moving up and down.”

The second option featured a display of horizontal white panels and silver plaques. The sides of the panels, which will be visible when walking up and down the stairs, would be blue, which Hayes said was inspired by the Potomac river.

“As sort of a relief for these plaques, the edges are treated in colors of blue to kind of give you that cascade look to reflect the water on the outside,” Hayes said.

Either option will begin with 21 plaques, with room to add more.

After the presentation, administrators took an informal vote to gauge opinion about which option students favored. Initially, almost all students opted in favor of the white and silver option. After a short discussion during which architects pointed out the possibility of including a design on the panels of either choice and the sustainability of the wooden panels, student opinion was more evenly split.

“I liked the wood just because I see that they’re trying to bring wood throughout the entire space with some of the furniture and accents,” attendee Connor Maytnier (COL ’17) said.

While architects have narrowed down the furniture options for the space, final choices will be informed by student opinion.

“I really like that they are asking people’s opinions because I do think that it really does make a big difference,” HFSC Student Planning Committee member Katie Hughes (COL ’16) said.

The HFSC is scheduled to open in fall 2014.

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