Philadelphia University’s new Fashion and Textiles Futures Center celebrates the history of this premier program while encouraging active, collaboration-based learning, research, and practice. The design for the 14,000 SF project was a collaboration between faculty, administration, and the Strada-led design team, to create spaces to advance prestigious fashion and textile design programs with an emphasis on active learning. Student designs are now featured throughout the facility, interspersed among open design studios, fabrication labs, and computer-aided design facilities. The flexible learning environment promotes partnerships with industry leaders that connect students to new career opportunities.
The Futures Center is a fresh and transparent environment where layers of design, production, and product display overlap and inform each other. Exposing the original high bay industrial structure created a unifying shell for the design studios, production labs, and product displays to promote a more active and engaging workspace. Sliding glass partitions and borrowed exterior daylight allow visibility from the exterior through all three-zones of the space. Once-dark corridors are now a vibrant, marketable tour of student work in lighted display cases with views into the studios beyond. A suspended metal grid provides an adaptable framework for lighting, suspended sliding pin-up panels and movable hanging displays for reviewing projects. Wheeled storage modules allow long-term projects to be stowed and moved aside during studio open houses. The Center provides accessible views for all who enter, providing space for connections, insights, and knowledge to emerge naturally.
– Marcia Weiss, the Harold Neuman Textile Design Chair and Director of Philadelphia University textile design programs