i+D - November/December 2021 - 20

Design
Voices
How Design
Makes the World
(Measurably) Better
Paula S. Wallace
President and Founder
Savannah College
of Art and Design
(Image: Adam Kuehl)
BY PAULA S. WALLACE
DREARY. DUSTY. DRAB.
DILAPIDATED. A BUILDING
THAT BECKONED FOR
REIMAGINATION, SITUATED
IN A BOARDED-UP DOWNTOWN
RIPE FOR REVITALIZATION.
IN 1978, THIS DERELICTION
WAS THE REALITY OF THE
SAVANNAH VOLUNTEER
GUARD ARMORY, A STALWART
SENTINEL ON MADISON
SQUARE IN GEORGIA'S FIRST
CITY. BACK THEN, SAVANNAH
WAS A SHAMBLES, THE
ARMORY A METAPHOR FOR ITS
CONDITION-YET I GLIMPSED
A DIFFERENT POSSIBILITY. AND
I GOT TO WORK.
What stands today as Clark Hall was completed in 1887
as the Red Building of the Central of Georgia Railroad.
Saved by SCAD in 1988, and adapted for use by the
School of Building Arts, the structure's original hard-fired
red brick craftsmanship is visible even today.
(Image: Chia Chong)
With the help of my family, I founded the Savannah
College of Art and Design (SCAD). And I helped
reshape the city. I re-envisioned the armory: Over
four decades, this first building the university
acquired-now named Poetter Hall-evolved
into a portal for elevated education, tangible
transformation, and community commitment. Once
imposing, the former armory became inviting and
encouraged Savannah to see its best self. Today,
Poetter stands as the city's bastion of possibility
and exemplifies the reverberating effect designers
create when they hone a key variable: connectivity.
In our present world-characterized by a stubborn
pandemic and experienced increasingly through
virtual and digital dimensions-connection is ever
vital yet also vexing. As social beings, we thirst for
communal experiences while stewing over the best
ways to share them-I recently addressed this very
challenge during my keynote at the 2021 ASID
Virtual Conference this past summer. Connectivity
is the new coin of the realm, and at SCAD we
realize it through EQ22, my design philosophy built
on three quotients-environmental, equitable, and
emotional-that inform palpable outcomes and
measure community impact. The result? Engaged,
authentic, sustainable design that unites and uplifts,
echoes, and evolves. The story of Poetter Hall
-and the larger SCAD built environment-
encapsulates EQ22 principles. And EQ22 offers a
template for the valuation of design and creative
transformation: In lieu of a quarterly earnings report,
imagine EQ22 Quarterly Quotient Reports that
benchmark results, determine design priorities, and
strategize substantive, stakeholder-centric solutions.
20
i+D - November/December 2021

i+D - November/December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i+D - November/December 2021

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