The studio is the physical, pedagogical, and social core of the School of Constructed Environments (SCE). Comprising 13,000 square feet of open loft space on two floors and outfitted with wireless technology, it supports both traditional and digital design explorations, from scaled models to full-size constructions. Each SCE student has access to support facilities such as the fabrication shop, computing laboratories, the Donghia Materials Center, the Light and Energy Lab, display galleries, the Glass Corner lecture hall, and the SCE administrative offices.
The fabrication shop is available to SCE students who have completed a mandatory training session. The shop features a full complement of traditional woodworking and portable power tools. With special training, SCE students can use the neighboring MFA metals shop, which houses a complete complement of ARC, TIG, MIG, plasma, and oxyacetylene metalworking equipment.
Named for the renowned interior designer and Parsons alumnus Angelo Donghia, the Angelo Donghia Materials Center is a unique support facility consisting of a materials library, a "smart" classroom, a computer laboratory with 12 workstations and digital input/output devices, and a glass-enclosed exhibition and critique space. The center hosts lunchtime lectures, symposia, exhibitions, and other events dedicated to advancing the art and science of materials used in interior design. The Donghia Materials Center is curated by Alice Chun, assistant professor of design material culture.
In addition to the wireless studio environment, SCE has two computing laboratories, immediately adjacent to the studios, which are reserved for SCE students. The labs offer 31 workstations, MAC and PC computers, two large-bed reflective scanners, multiple color-laser printers, and two high-speed plotters. Lab technicians are on-site seven days a week.
Immediately adjacent to the studios, the Light and Energy Lab is a resource for lighting design, architecture, interior design, and product design students. It is a vital resource for research in light and its relationship to people, space, and materials. This laboratory houses electrical components, measuring devices, and study tools used in light and space analysis, including daylighting and electric lighting simulations and building component analysis. The lab also allows for the construction of full- and partial-scale mockups demonstrating unique lighting applications in conjunction with specific materials and architectural configurations.
In addition to the Donghia Gallery, SCE has display space and equipment, including multiple 42-inch wall-mounted plasma screens and digital projection systems, to support exhibition programs in architecture, lighting, and interior design. Recent exhibitions include the work of Smith-Miller Hawkinson Architects, Calvin Tsao, and Matthew Baird Design and the annual Design Workshop exhibition.
In 1994, artist and designer Allan Wexler created "Closet #1, Parsons' Kitchen" as part of his renowned Closet Architecture Series. The Kitchen is housed in the department's public gallery space and serves as an in-house bar and meeting place for public events and receptions. Wexler describes the piece as follows:
"The project began with the discovery of a hidden space behind a wall. The negative shape of this space became the form of the Kitchen. The shape of the Kitchen is made complicated by the steampipes, moldings and other irregularities that make up the recess. The piece is constructed like a storage crate, rolling into the space and filling it completely, and when needed drawn out for use."