Sixth Grade through MFA: Meet the Taubman Center for Design Education

Sep 22, 2009 at 12:14 pm

This morning, under a threatening sky, The College for Creative Studies (CCS) celebrated the grand opening of its A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education, an integrated educational community of sorts whose main focus is on art and design. The Taubman Center will extend from middle school through graduate school and beyond into the professional realm. How much does it cost to turn a gray day sunny? Well, about $145 million. That’s how much the redevelopment project cost, and, by the looks of things, no expense was spared. CCS has transformed General Motors’ historic Argonaut Building, located in Detroit’s New Center district, into what is now a faction of Detroit’s Creative Economy Initiative.

The Taubman Center will be the second campus site for the College, and is set to house CCS’s five undergraduate design departments as well as its new Master of Fine Arts degree programs in design and transportation design. In collaboration with the University of Michigan’s prominent Ross School of Business, the MFA programs CCS offers take a distinctive approach to graduate design education by placing a strong emphasis on business knowledge as well as advanced design skills. On hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony were Keith E. Crain (Chairman, Crain Communications Inc.), Richard L. Rogers (President, CCS), Gary L. Cowger (Group Vice-President, General Motors Corporation), A. Alfred Taubman (Founder, Taubman Centers; CCS Trustee), Robert M. Thompson (Chair, Thompson Educational Foundation), Mike Schmidt (Director of Education & Community Development, Ford Motor company Fund), Michelle White (Principal, Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies), Steven K. Hamp (Chair, New Economy Initiative) and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.

“The Taubman Center is a unique facility that will have a profound impact on public education, the City of Detroit, and design education in general,” said Richard L. Rogers, president, CCS. “It will help drive an educational, economic and cultural rejuvenation in Detroit at a time when it is needed most.”

CCS partnered with Henry Ford Learning Institute (HFLI) and Thompson Educational Foundation to develop Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies (HFA: SCS), a public middle and high school focused on strong academics, art, design and creativity. HFA: SCS forms a new pathway for Detroit youth into the exciting careers that are driving the creative economy. With HFA: SCS, the Taubman Center creates a powerful new educational model, with middle and high school students studying in the building alongside CCS undergraduate and graduate students.

“Detroit cannot have a future if its children do not have a future — and education is key to our city’s prosperity. This school will provide a pathway for Detroit youth to some of the most exciting and dynamic careers available, which will make a measurable difference in their lives,” said Robert M. Thompson, chair, Thompson Educational Foundation.

The Taubman Center brings 2,000 new students, teachers, faculty, parents, staff and visitors to Detroit’s New Center district daily and provides a 24/7 presence to the area with 300 students living in the student residence hall with loft-style dorm rooms and a 360-seat dining facility. A conference center on the top floor with a flexible auditorium space that will seat up to 400 people and include a series of break-out rooms for meetings, as well as a number of retail and exhibition spaces, are expected to be completed in the coming months. The Taubman Center also has 80,000 square feet of development space available for new or growing creative businesses, support services and professional networks.

All in all, it was a bright day for Detroit. Really ...