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The Story Behind LVC Reimagined

A art major presents her work from the LVC Reimagined exhibit

As Lebanon Valley College celebrated its 150th anniversary, various projects across campus contributed to the festivities. One such project was the “LVC Reimagined: Transformative Architecture” exhibit at the Suzanne H. Arnold Art Gallery, which ran for several weeks in the spring. The exhibit included architectural models and designs created by students the previous fall in the LVC Reimagined course taught by Dr. Grant Taylor, chair and associate professor of art & art history. It also featured an overview of LVC’s architectural history with vintage photographs and design plans.

The LVC Reimagined course tied in with the Campus Master Planning process at the College. “The planning process analyzes how College space is currently utilized and determines what future needs exist. The process also presents an opportunity to reimagine and shape the experiences of future generations through spatial design,” said Dr. Taylor.

In the class, students examined LVC through the lenses of a wide variety of fields and completed rigorous research to draft their designs for a new version of the campus. Using design and 3-D modeling software such as SketchUp Pro and 3-D printers, students then produced virtual designs of their remodeled buildings. These included redesigns of an art building, health sciences building, new residence halls, and much more.

Matthew Eshbach ’17, an actuarial science major, chose to design a new mathematical sciences building. “I first met with Dr. Brewer [associate professor of mathematical sciences] of the Math Department. I asked him several questions aimed at finding flaws in current department spaces—flaws that I could improve on with my design. I took this information and drew my first sketch in SketchUp Pro.” He later took the sketch to a Math Department faculty meeting for further commentary and suggestions from the professors on his new building design. 

Megan Cook ’17 created a new apartment-style residential building for her class project. “I chose to design a residential building because I am an RA [Resident Assistant] and love working with my residents. I know there is a need for additional beds, as the number of students at LVC is growing,” said Cook. Her design allowed for 72 more beds, with two three-story buildings.

Cara Breslin ’16 took to the task of redesigning a new Administration Building/Humanities Center—the current building is one of the oldest on campus. “My project was to create my imagined design of a Humanities House. This is a place where students and faculty of the humanities are able to get together for classes, meetings, collaboration work, and more. It can be a place for students to hang out and relax, watch a movie with friends, read a book on a patio, and much more,” said Breslin. 

Dr. Taylor also taught a Curatorial Projects course where students curated and coordinated the upcoming exhibit. “The course aims to familiarize students with the multifaceted tasks of curation. Students experience the curatorial duties of working with acquisitions, collection management, and conservation, as well as the creative aspects of exhibition ideation,” said Dr. Taylor. Students planned how the exhibit would actually be installed in the Gallery, and handled publishing and marketing for the project.

It is Dr. Taylor’s hope that the Gallery exhibit enlightened visitors about the history of LVC architecture and got them to consider how the College itself has evolved and expanded over the years—and how it will continue to do so over time. “Our oldest academic buildings are more than 100 years old. Students today experience the same spaces of those students of the early 1900s. They don’t realize they are sitting in classrooms where LVC students have been educated for more than a century,” said Dr. Taylor.

The importance of architecture and design throughout campus isn’t often put in the spotlight, which is what this project aims to do. “Architecture links us across time,” added Dr. Taylor.