Shaping the SHED into a campus masterpiece

Boris Sapozhnikov

The SHED will have makerspaces, performing arts spaces, and extra-large classrooms that promote active learning. The facility will open this fall.

As students head to class each day, a new showpiece is rising at the center of RIT’s campus.

The Student Hall for Exploration and Development (SHED)—which was first announced in 2017 and funded in part by a $50 million gift from alumnus Austin McChord ’09—is a multi-use complex that will showcase RIT’s technology, the arts, and design. The SHED is on track to open this fall.

Stretching between Wallace Library and Monroe Hall, the SHED will feature a 98-foot-tall atrium. The complex will extend behind the library, creating an entirely new space with an expanse of glassed-in connections and interesting architectural features.

The creative hub includes the Brooks H. Bower Maker Showcase, the Sklarsky Glass Box Theater, and music and dance studios with advanced audiovisual technologies. The SHED’s focus on hands-on learning extends to its 27 newly finished classrooms—five extra-large learning spaces and 22 regular-sized classrooms in the renovated Wallace Library. New classroom furniture on wheels will promote active learning and make it easy for students to form small groups.

The $120 million complex is the largest construction undertaking on campus since it orig­inally opened in 1968. The architectural style of the SHED departs from the brick-centric construction of RIT’s early buildings on the Henrietta campus. Instead of brick, glass is the dominant material in the SHED and, in contrast, will create a light, airy, and soaring presence that will draw students from across campus.

Work on the SHED has entered a new phase with a focus on finishing the building envelope and installing large glass panels to the exterior of the dance studio and on the bridges that connect the two sides of the building.

The SHED’s emphasis on glass continues inside the building, with nearly two-thirds of the interior walls made of glass, according to Mark Williams, principal project manager in RIT’s Facilities Management Services.

“When you walk around inside the facility, you can see into almost every space,” Williams said. “It will create a new kind of community at RIT.”

This story is part of the 2023 President’s Annual Report. Read more stories from the report.

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