The College of Design has been selected to receive Sustainability Challenge Grant funding totaling more than $40,000 that will be used to document the transformation of the Reynolds tobacco warehouse to the Gray Design Building. The Sustainability Challenge Grant Program is designed to engage multidisciplinary teams from the university community to foster scholarly, creative and research projects that promote sustainability through activities that are ecologically sound, socially just and economically viable.
Funds from this grant will be used to document and preserve the transformation of the former Reynolds tobacco warehouse into the new Gray Design Building. Assistant Professor of Product Design SK O’Brien was instrumental in securing the grant.
“The Sustainability Challenge Grant provides the perfect opportunity for a multidisciplinary team of faculty and students to give voice to sustainability – to walk it like we talk it,” said College of Design Dean Mitzi Vernon. “Perhaps it is more important at this moment; as we begin construction with the fierce advocacy of sustainability through the architects of Studio Gang and K. Norman Berry.”
In May of 2022, a generous $5.25 million gift from Gray Inc. made it possible to move forward with the adaptive reuse project of transforming the Reynolds building into the future home of the College of Design. A ceremonial groundbreaking is scheduled for August 8.
The project will seek to create an educational experience that illustrates the life of the building through the lens of history, sustainability, and adaptive reuse. The building’s physical evolution over time, as well as its multiple uses, will show how adaptively reusing the Reynolds site serves as a model for sustainable development in higher education and as an educational tool for students in the College and across campus.
This diverse team brings together expertise in Historic Preservation, Adaptive Reuse, Graphic Design, Web Design, Product Design, Exhibit Design, Visitor Experience Design and AR/VR Design which will provide the expertise necessary to successfully complete this project.
“This is a pivotal moment where we have the opportunity to document valuable educational data that would otherwise be lost,” said O’Brien. “We’re excited to be able to use this construction project as an educational opportunity for our students and the larger community and to capture data for future use.”