Historic preservation, human-centered design and mission drive Martha Van Rensselaer Hall renovations
“MVR Hall is very important because it was built during and after the beginning of the Great Depression. The choice of Georgian Revival at that moment makes an aesthetic statement that embodies the values of the college and represents strength. I think the founders wanted this primarily female college to have a sense of integrity and familiarity, but also solidity. This was going to be a college that had a future; Martha Van Rensselaer and Flora Rose were building something that was very, very important to society.”
"A lot of the work we have been doing and will be doing in the walls of this building directly addresses the needs of the citizens of New York. For example, we have faculty and students and staff who are working through the 4-H system to promote positive youth development. Our nutrition education and community education programs will be housed in the building as well as scholars in other disciplines working with families and parents at-risk locally and throughout the state. We will be carrying out innovative work that addresses some of the most pressing needs we face in New York and beyond, which is really exciting."
"Kay’s attitude toward bringing in different perspectives, her focus on programmatic needs and highlighting the important scientific research taking place in the college, resulted in a practical, level-headed engagement and made space for Rhonda to leverage a very human-engaged design-side – how people feel, how that affects their performance – and then allowed me to be able to say, okay, but here's our risk, here’s where we’re going to have problems. We didn’t have three voices saying the same thing. That celebration of the strength of diversification is part of what makes Human Ecology what it is."
"The renovation speaks to the significance of Human Ecology within the university, while catapulting it into the future in a way that feels significant and permanent and manages to instill a sense of pride and also nostalgia, which is a hard balance to strike but they achieved it," Brachot said. "And, as an alumna, I am proud of the emphasis that the renovation has put on reusing furniture and materials. Our college has always prioritized people and the environment as one, and this project is no exception to that theme."