Dear President Aoun,
Over the past decade, Northeastern’s architecture program has been housed in the Ruggles Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Station. Historically, Ruggles Architecture Studio has been a sufficient space to accommodate the needs of the program. However, the quality of the space has greatly deteriorated and no longer fosters the creative atmosphere needed in an architecture studio. We have outgrown Ruggles Studio and require a better facility that will help us remain competitive in the world of architecture.
The biggest problems facing studio are as follows:
The studio leaks constantly. Models, drawings and even technical equipment, like printers and projectors, have been destroyed by water. Buckets have been set up around the studio to catch the water but are often removed because the buckets themselves are fire hazards.
The studio is not big enough. We do not have sufficient space to house the equipment needed for the work-intensive studio classes of both the undergraduate and graduate architecture programs. There are not even enough desks for all the students who take classes in studio. For example, none of the students in the Advanced Architectural Communications course have desks. There is not enough room for laser cutters, computer-controlled routers and other technical equipment needed to produce work in the studio courses. The studio lacks enough space in general to hold classes – every single studio course from the first year of the undergraduate program to the last year of the master’s programs meet in Ruggles Studio.
The studio is dirty. We have sent in multiple work requests to fix rodent and insect problems and other unsanitary conditions. The reason the studio is so dirty is because students do not have adequate space to store their materials and are forced to keep their models and supplies on the ground.
The studio itself is dangerous. There are electrical outlets hanging from the ceiling, which have injured students in the past by falling and hitting them in the head. The hanging partitions students use to present their work have fallen and concussed students. Glass window panes have also popped out of place, destroying the models of students who sit by the window.
The studio is cold. During the cold Boston winters, the studio has been unable to provide sufficient warmth for its students. Though relatively mild, even this past winter has resulted in multiple complaints from students who had to work while wearing blankets because the studio has been unable to provide a comfortable space for them to work in.
The studio is too loud. Being underneath the MBTA station means that our studio shakes every couple of minutes because of overhead buses and neighboring trains. The noise pollution not only affects the students who are working; when industry professionals come to the studio to critique midterm and final presentations only to experience the ridiculous volume of noise coming from the station, it embarasses us and our university.
Despite the problems listed above, we believe that we have a great architecture program with a wonderful and supportive faculty and administration. The problem is not the program – it is the facilities Northeastern has provided us. The conditions of Ruggles Studio are unacceptable, and we, as an architectural student body, refuse to be treated like second-class students in the lengthening shadow of the university’s new ivory tower, the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex. We need and deserve a new studio with the proper technical equipment in order to produce cutting-edge architecture. Large, innovative studios commonplace and fundamental in other architecture programs in the Boston area and beyond. In order to remain competitive with these institutions in the eyes of prospective students and to preserve the aspirations of our striving architecture program, we must upgrade our facilities. The school is rising in ranks, but we are stuck underground. We hope the university can be as dedicated to us as we are to the program.
The Northeastern University Architecture Student Advisory Group & the School of Architecture student body
As of Tuesday, March 29, 193 architecture and landscape architecture students had signed the petition.