With $2M gift, NYIT redesigns architectural programs

Plans are in the works: New master's degree programs and collaborations with other researchers are being drawn up by NYIT's School of Architecture and Design.

A sizeable grant from the IDC Foundation, the “legacy” organization spun out of the defunct Institute of Design and Construction, will support new architecture programs at the New York Institute of Technology – and tie them into a wide range of other academic disciplines.

An award “exceeding $2 million” will help develop the “culture of making” at NYIT’s Manhattan-based School of Architecture and Design by “enabling faculty and students to explore synergies at the boundaries of architecture, medicine and (the) healthcare professions,” NYIT said Wednesday.

The grant will also help fund the IDC Foundation Endowed Chair of Digital Technologies in the School of Architecture and Design – marking NYIT’s first-ever endowed chair – and contribute to the construction of the IDC Foundation Digital Fabrication Lab, coming soon to the Manhattan architecture school.

And the IDC Foundation’s support will cover an array of academic activities, scholarships and post-graduate academic programs that “foster collaborative and interdisciplinary efforts between the School of Architecture and Design and other NYIT schools and colleges,” according to NYIT, including the Old Westbury-based College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Maria Perbellini, dean of the School of Architecture and Design, said the IDC Foundation grant will be an enormous help to her school’s mission to unite architecture, medical and health disciplines in “unprecedented research and educational activities through design and digital technologies.”

Maria Perbellini: Designing woman.

“We will move beyond architectural research and engage with alternative and unconventional design solutions toward a healthier-built environment and a holistic approach to wellbeing,” Perbellini said Wednesday. “Our goal is to immerse students in a transformative learning environment that advances new knowledge while blurring disciplinary boundaries and imparts a deep understanding of innovation and specialization to address globally significant issues.”

Among the innovations coming soon to Perbellini’s school: master’s degree programs in digital fabrication – focused on the development of high-performance building components and integrated, environmentally responsive building materials – and “design and health,” digging even deeper into the design aspects of healthcare facilities, biomedical systems and more, with a heavy focus sustainability.

The newly established IDC Foundation is a legacy of the Institute of Design and Construction, the former Brooklyn-based, nonprofit technical college that ended a 68-year run in 2015. The foundation focuses on funding transformational programmatic initiatives that promote innovative educational approaches and enhance learning experiences.

IDC Foundation President Raymond Savino said his organization is “especially pleased” to back the NYIT architecture school, whose mission is “closely aligned with the legacy of the Institute of Design and Construction.”

“Both share a commitment to career-oriented professional education, access to opportunity and applications-oriented research,” Savino said in a statement, adding the foundation was also excited to help NYIT “explore opportunities at the intersection of the architecture and medical fields to collaborate on unique and unprecedented research and educational activities through design and technology.”

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