Pictured from left: New York Tech President Hank Foley; Frank Fortino, board member of the IDC Foundation; Raymond R. Savino, president of the IDC Foundation; Dean Maria Perbellini, and Domenick Chieco, co-chair of the FRIENDS of the School of Architecture and Design
On October 27, the School of Architecture and Design celebrated the grand opening of the IDC Foundation Digital Fabrication and Robotic Matter Design Labs (FabLabs) on the Long Island campus. On hand for the ribbon cutting were New York Tech President Hank Foley, Ph.D.; Maria Perbellini, M.Arch., dean of the School of Architecture and Design; Domenick Chieco (B.S.A.T. ’89), chair of the FRIENDS of the School of Architecture and Design executive committee; Raymond R. Savino, president of the IDC Foundation; Frank Fortino (B.S.A.T. ’87), board member of the IDC Foundation, as well as students, faculty, and staff.
“It is so important that when you have a dream and when you are creating transformative learning experiences to have people with you who understand where you want to go and what you want to accomplish. We are so fortunate to have those people in President Foley and the IDC Foundation,” Perbellini said.
This state-of-the-art facility will promote innovation and facilitate entrepreneurial initiatives for students and faculty on both New York campuses. Students from the New York City campus can digitally share their work for reproduction with the team at the Fab Lab, run by Director of Digital Technologies and Fabrication Dustin White. The final components of a physical model or the assembled piece will then be delivered to them on campus in New York City. Students and faculty will benefit from the Fab Lab as it will aid in strengthening industry connections, research, and grant opportunities.
The IDC Foundation Digital Fabrication and Robotic Matter Design Labs are equipped with vacuum forming tools, laser cutters, CNC (computer numerical control) machines, 3-D printing equipment at multiple scales and with a variety of materials as well as simulation programs, augmented and virtual reality, building information modeling, and robotic systems.
“When we received the IDC grant, we realized that it was a real shot in the arm for us being a school of doers, makers, and innovators,” said President Foley. “With the merger of the digital arts program with the School of Architecture and Design, we’re really excited to see where that will go, especially with the opening of these new labs and the new robotic technology. Tying together the left and the right brain through the digital medium is just truly exciting.”
“We have developed strategies for the continuous integration of emerging technologies in curricula that impact the profession and to amplify the spatial experience for a stronger interaction with data and information for computational analysis and design,” Perbellini said.
Students working on projects at the new IDC Foundation Digital Fabrication and Robotic Matter Design Labs (Fab Lab).
The IDC Foundation awarded New York Tech with a $2 million grant in 2018 and additional annual funds in the amount of $590,000 for scholarships, fellowships, and novel student activities to help further develop the school’s “culture of making” by enabling faculty and students to explore synergies at the boundaries of architecture, medicine, and healthcare professions, as well as combine design thinking with advanced digital fabrication technologies and sophisticated equipment. As such, the grants supported the establishment of two new master’s degree programs: architecture, computational technologies; and architecture, health and design.
“The IDC Foundation is pleased to be able to play a key role in the evolution of computational technologies and digital fabrication at New York Tech,” said Savino. “We are excited about New York Tech’s growing leadership in this space and look forward to seeing what the students and faculty create with these new resources.”
In part, the grant also contributed to funding the IDC Foundation Endowed Chair of Digital Technologies in the School of Architecture and Design, the first endowed chair at New York Tech. “We welcome Alessandro Melis, Ph.D., a leader in scholarship, esteemed professional and exquisite educator, to chart an innovation-focused approach to research in the School of Architecture and Design programs,” Perbellini said.
“I’m so proud of the FabLab and the strides the school has made since the time I attended here,” said Chieco. “It is great to see the school moving forward. These are exactly the types of things we had in mind when we first founded the FRIENDS 13 years ago.”