The Lawrenceville School today celebrated the official groundbreaking of the Gruss Center for Art and Design (GCAD), a state-of-the-art creative design center and maker space, and the planned renovation of the Center’s Hutchins Galleries.
The ceremony was attended by the School’s Board of Trustees and senior administrators, as well as special guests. Martin and Audrey Gruss are the principal benefactors of the project and participated in the groundbreaking, as did Glenn Hutchins, benefactor with his wife, Deborah, of the Hutchins Galleries through the Hutchins Family Foundation. Mr. Gruss, a member of the Lawrenceville class of 1960, and Mr. Hutchins, a member of the class of 1973, are trustees emeriti of the School.
The project scope encompasses a comprehensive renovation of the existing Gruss Center of Visual Arts, a fine arts classroom building and gallery space, and a 15,000-square-foot expansion of the building footprint. The design reflects best practices in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education, informed by site visits to corporate innovation hubs, Stanford University’s d.School, and similar facilities at Yale and MIT. The project also incorporates improvements to the Center’s Hutchins Galleries and the creation of climate-controlled storage space for the School’s extensive fine art collection.
“The vision for this renovation reflects our commitment to S.T.E.A.M. instruction as preparation for the way our students will need to think in the 21st century,” said Lawrenceville Head Master Steve Murray H’55 ’65 ’16 P’16 ’21. “The new facility will provide them with the tools and opportunities to become inspired problem-solvers and creative explorers of art, science, and technology. We are enormously grateful for this significant investment in the future of learning at Lawrenceville.”
The expansion will transform the facade of the Gruss Center with floor-to-ceiling glass panels and the interior with new wood and metal finishes, creating a cutting-edge workspace flanked by the galleries at one end and studio space at the other. New facilities will include a clean fabrication lab, digital design rooms, and a large flexible project room for ideation and rapid prototyping; wood and metal shops; and collaborative workstations to support team projects.
“Lawrenceville’s plan to blend the principles of technology and design to create a center for innovation offered a thrilling opportunity,” said Mr. Gruss. “The visual arts building provided the ideal site for this exciting new venture, and Audrey and I feel fortunate to be able to support the School’s vision.”
Mr. Hutchins also expressed enthusiasm for the School’s direction. “I want to congratulate and thank Martin and Audrey Gruss on this amazing contribution and their long history of support for art and design at Lawrenceville. My wife, Debbie, and I are pleased to be their partners in creating this place where Lawrentians can quite literally build the future.”
This groundbreaking marks the fourth iteration of the building that will reopen in January 2020 as the Gruss Center for Art and Design. It began as the much smaller John Dixon Library, which opened in 1931. In 1960, the Carpenter Wing was added to expand the library. The Gruss Center of Visual Arts, also funded by Mr. and Mrs. Gruss, opened in 1998 to provide a home for the Visual Arts Department.
For more information about the Gruss Center project, click here