Published: Dec. 15, 2021 By

Students overlooking design work on the third floorSounds of cheer and conversation filled ENVD 134, hallways and studios in the Environmental Design (ENVD) building last Friday, as ENVD opened to the public for a full-building exhibit, showcasing faculty and student work from the fall semester.

Almost every nook and cranny of the building was covered with architecture, product design, landscape architecture and sustainable planning and urban design projects. Poster boards were pinned from the floor to ceilings and structural models, digitally fabricated lamps and other interactive design concepts lined walls and blanketed draft tables.

“Having the ENVD building bustling with creative, excited students sharing their work with parents, family and friends exemplifies ENVD culture at its best,” said Maryanne Fantalis, ENVD instructor.

The Program in Environmental Design launched the Open House event in December 2018, to celebrate accomplishments in and outside the classroom. The event encourages peer-to-peer connections and introduces networking opportunities with alumni, the local design industry, and the CU and Boulder communities.

Student overlooking design work from the intro to architecture studios“It’s critically important for students in the first five to six semesters to see the work of peers ahead of them in the Program,” said Neal Evers, ENVD Instructor. “It raises the bar of accomplishment and is critical to establish a shared culture of design excellence.”

Throughout the evening, students and guests were exposed to all four design disciplines, which took over several floors of the building. Process, techniques and stories were shared across upper-division students to lower-division students.

“My favorite part of the event was admiring the models on display,” said Julia Rodriguez, a junior in architecture. “Every model was so beautiful and unique, it was just so amazing to see the different outcomes of so many design students.” 

Fantalis enjoyed viewing the innovative design concepts developed by students in the environmental product design major. Stationed in the center of ENVD 134, students in the intermediate design studio, instructed by Jared Arp, set up a student-made pop-up shop called EPOP. The EPOP shop was established in December 2019 to feature products designed and fabricated by current students.

“I bought an adorable [laser-cut] cactus to brighten my office,” Fantalis shared.

As with most in-person events and activities interrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic, there were three ENVD Open House exhibits that were lost in the “pandemic time warp.” Brandon Anderson, an ENVD architecture instructor, was unaware the program had missed that many Open House events.

“I think this has had an impact on the culture of ENVD and the connection between faculty and students,” Anderson commented.

For Emily Perry, ENVD’s newly welcomed professional academic advisor, this event was quickly recognized as a meaningful one for both students and faculty to have their work “admired, shared and celebrated.”

“I can imagine, after missing three Open Houses, this event is symbolic of the program returning to long-adored traditions and celebrations,” Perry said.

Perry was right. Even though the fall semester had been held in person for a little under five months leading up to last Friday evening, it was the overwhelming feeling of just “being back” that filled the atmosphere that night.

“It was exactly what our program needed after three grueling semesters spent mostly alone,” said Jade Polizzi, ENVD senior instructor. “Congratulations to our whole department for ending the semester strong. It felt good to celebrate this accomplishment together.”