Studio Designers | Form & Function

Jun 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz

TOP STUDIO DESIGNERS BUCK TRENDS

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John Storyk on Designing Studios for Audio Education Programs

I’ve designed many schools and many studios, the basic process is still the same. There’s still a programmatic or ergonomic problem that has to be solved. But it’s a little different for teaching. For instance, what happens when you want to make a “world-class” control room environment but you also want to put 15 kids in the room? That’s not a natural agenda for a commercial studio. Most commercial studios don’t have that need so how do you make that work? How do you deal with surround sound in that kind of environment? How do you deal with visual sight lines, cameras, display boards? There’s a different set of requirements. I don’t know if they’re any more or less difficult, but they’re unique to teaching environments and I enjoy it. It’s a challenge.

Are budgets for school projects usually sufficient and similar to other projects?
They are, actually. There are the private schools, the for-profit schools like Full Sail or E’xpression or the Art Institutes, Mediatech in Dallas. You’d be surprised. They’re actually prepared to have very robust budgets because they have to compete for students. That’s their sale. The money guys are prepared to spend the money because it’s a marketing tool. They also want our name on it because it because they consider it a marketing tool.

The not-for-profit schools like American University, for instance, a school based on endowments and stuff, they’re also prepared to spend money. Or Union College because, generally speaking, when it’s renovation time, the initiative for the renovation has come from within, from teachers who actually know what they’re doing and they know the industry. So, yes, the budgets are there, much to our pleasant surprise.

But the schools also have unique needs. There’s often more serious code compliance, ADA compliance, occasionally specific school requirements issues like timeline requirements, things have to open by a certain date. It’s different from when you’re dealing with a private studio like Electric Lady or Jungle City for Anne Mincieli where things can be flexible. With schools, you’re dealing with institutions, so you’re dealing with bureaucratic and sometimes legal issues requirements; these can be curious and challenging, but it’s part of the deal. 






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