The Triangle - The Independent Student Newspaper at Drexel University

Westphal and Sony create new program

Sony Electronics has named Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design as one of the founding members of its new academic program, The Sony Digital Media Academy.

The partnership is designed to provide Drexel with Sony’s cutting-edge technology to create a new sustainable architecture studio for students and educators. Architecture students typically use massive amounts of paper, toner and ink in the process of brainstorming and presenting project ideas.

“Our typical design studio can use up to 13,000 square feet of paper each year, so this project is innovative for both incorporating sustainability and for advancing our capacity for visualizations in this digital age,” Allen Sabinson, dean of Westphal College, said.

The creation of the new paperless studio will eliminate unnecessary expenditures and will allow Drexel to fulfill its goal of becoming a leader in environmental sustainability.

The hope is that Drexel’s paperless studio will ultimately be employed throughout the college and that Sony will be able to take it out to universities and schools across the country and world.

This Sony partnership places Westphal among other prestigious art institutions such as New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The program will give students access to brand-new equipment such as Sony’s 47-inch LCD flat-screen TV. The technology will be fully compatible with 2-D, 3-D and animated imagery. Students and professors will soon be able to design and display their graphics directly onto the flat-screen panels, allowing more time for innovation.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled,” Frank de Santis, an assistant teaching professor from the Department of Architecture and Interiors, said. “This is an incredible opportunity for the students, the department and the University as a whole.”

De Santis explained that constantly improved graphics are changing the way architects conduct business.

“This video technology is really cutting-edge stuff in the architecture field,” he said. “Before, it was very time consuming and extremely expensive to provide an architectural projection for your clients. Video technology is making designs easier and cheaper to produce.”

De Santis then gave a final praise to the new flat-screen panel. “This is like your dad’s dream TV, only better,” he joked.

The Sony Digital Media Academy will be put into beta testing this summer with the hope of becoming fully operational in the fall. This kickoff will also coincide with Westphal’s new relocation to the URBN Center on Market Street, set to open this fall.