This year’s SCUP North Atlantic Regional Conference theme was “Gown, Gown, Gown, Gown & Town” – a nod to the integral relationship between colleges and universities and the cities and towns they call home. In Boston and Cambridge alone there are over 35 institutions within the city limits and dozens of others in the greater metro area. Town and Gown are inextricably linked in all planning aspects and trends within higher education.
Nearly 500 people gathered including institutional planners, faculty and administrators, architects, consulting engineers and construction managers involved in the planning, design and construction of institutional facilities – all playing a part in the interwoven nature of integrated planning, our institutions and “town.”
One of the gems of a SCUP conference are the tours – participants spend three hours in small group tours with colleagues and clients learning about new and interesting projects. The tours were themed – “Art Institutions Built in Boston” featuring New England Conservatory and Mass Art; “Cutting Edge Science from Both Sides of the River” featuring Payette’s own Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Complex (ISEC) at Northeastern University and MIT’s new MIT.nano; “Expanding Professional Education at Harvard University,” which included the Kennedy School of Government and Business School and “Renewal at MIT: the Main Group Tour,” which included another Payette project, MIT’s PDSI (Physics, Department of Material Science and Engineering, Spectroscopy and Infrastructure) project.
Payette people played a big hand in this year’s conference – Heather Taylor, who is on the North Atlantic Council was a Conference Co-Chair. Bob Schaeffner led the tour of the ISEC on Sunday and co-presented with Kathy Spiegelman from Northeastern and Paul Rinaldi from Boston University on “Transforming Homogenous City Landscapes into Vibrant Architectural Tapestries.” Arlen Li was a Tour Champion and helped organize the Science Tour.
SCUP is first and foremost a professional development opportunity to engage with clients and industry colleagues while being inspired, energized and learning about current themes and challenges facing higher education today. While Abby Klima returned for her second SCUP conference, Kerry Drake, Diana Tsang and Jennifer Hegarty were all first time attendees. The impressions from the conference included an appreciation of the intimate scale of the conference, the tours were a perfect way to start the conference and as a firm that specializes in planning, programming and designing academic buildings, the conference theme was of particular interest to us.
With Boston’s abundance of academic institutions, it was the perfect location for the region’s SCUP conference. The intimacy of the three-day conference created a wonderful opportunity for attendees to develop stronger connections and relationships as we all continue to work together to plan and design for the future institutions.