The College of Human Ecology has received a $13.5 million gift commitment to support cross-college design research and collaboration across disciplines. The gift includes funding for a new 15,000-square-foot design makerspace on the Ithaca campus, a 2,500-square-foot design studio in Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, and a new scholarship fund for Human Ecology undergraduates in the Department of Human Centered Design.
“These new spaces and resources will be a tremendous asset to our students and faculty, significantly advancing the university’s strengths in research and teaching around truly human-centered, human-empathic design,” President Martha E. Pollack said. “I’m deeply grateful for these thoughtful gifts, and for the impact they will have across and beyond the College of Human Ecology: driving innovation and engagement, and enriching our entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
The new design makerspace will meet increased demand from faculty and students across campus for a large, unstructured, and flexible research facility for developing new prototypes as well as for testing interactive large-scale designs that center human needs and desires. The space will provide a valuable resource for the multi-college Department of Design Tech. The facility will have broad fabrication capabilities, including equipment for robotics, computer-aided manufacturing, wood and light metals fabrication, and augmented/virtual reality. A suitable site on the Ithaca campus is being studied, and a timeline for design and construction is under development.