Herberger Institute

Students compete to turn public space into vibrant community
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Challenging students to transform space into place
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Cross-Institute Initiatives

X-Square

What would you do to make our campus a better place?

X-Square is a transdisciplinary initiative of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University that aims to transform an otherwise unremarkable brick courtyard on the northern edge of ASU’s Tempe campus into a vital gathering place for students, faculty and visitors. The square resides between the Art Building and the Design South Building.

X square 2012

2012 X-Square construction complete

The 2012 winning design team, X-Scape, created a 35-foot-by-45-foot multi-level and multi-purpose seating, lounging and performing space for Neeb Plaza that the community is using as a shady spot for lunches, studying and relaxing. The interdisciplinary team of Brett Berger, Diego Valencia and Aaron Choi from The Design School, Christine Phu from the School of Art and Kim Stevenson from the School of Music, working with faculty advisor Phil Horton (The Design School), took their inspiration for a color palette from the 30-foot high fuschia bougainvillea that climbs the adjacent south wall of The Design School. The design includes boxed thornless Palo Verde and mesquite trees and jasmine and Coral Fountain Grass in the planters, that are hand-watered byt he team. As happened with X-Square’s 2011 winning design, Peritoneum that won the American Society of Landscape Architects Excellence Award for Student Collaborations, the X-Scape team plans to disassemble its creation and reassemble it in the community this summer in order to make way for the next X-Square winning design. (Peritoneum is now installed in downtown Phoenix at Roosevelt and Second streets. See the design in Archdaily.com.)

Read more about the 2012 winners.

X square

Choose Your X-Square!

Each year, a student competition will be held to design and program the square for a nine month installation that will open at the beginning of each Fall semester. Student teams are required to have a minimum of one student from the School of Art and The Design School plus at least one student from one of the other six schools within the Herberger Institute (three students minimum) as well as a faculty advisor from one of the six schools within the Herberger Institute. Each team proposal should take into consideration climate, accessibility and sustainability so that the installation can be programmed and used extensively over its nine-month life and dismantled with minimal waste.

Entries will be juried against the following criteria:

From the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts mission:
We aspire to become a national leader in trans-disciplinary and student-focused learning and in outcome-based research into the nature of creativity, how it drives innovation, and how it can be taught. We propose to make the knowledge embedded in design and the arts a key component in the understanding and solving of major challenges through cross-disciplinary collaborations within and outside of Institute and university boundaries.

Proposal Parameters

  1. Each proposal should develop an integrated strategy that brings together subject matter expertise among the arts and design.
  2. Each qualifying team must have at least:
    • 1 student from the School of Art
    • 1 student from The Design School
    • 1 student from one of the four other schools within the Herberger Institute (Arts, Media + Engineering [AME]; Dance; Music; Theatre and Film)
    • Teams may be composed of more students (no limit) and other student expertise from the greater University is encouraged.
    • Each team must have a faculty advisor from one of the six schools within the Herberger Institute.
  3. Entries should propose an environment that encourages occupation/use/programming of the space by students, faculty and staff across the Herberger Institute as well as the greater ASU community.
  4. Issues of climate, context and accessibility must be considered.
  5. Interventions are limited to the brick area only.
  6. The brick surface can be covered, but cannot be damaged or modified in any way. Structures must be designed so that no ground penetrations are needed for footings or supports.
  7. Proposals should employ sustainable materials and methods of construction and incorporate necessary infrastructures, such as electric power and water into the design of the scheme. No power or water will be provided from the campus.
  8. The life of the intervention will be fall to spring and must be designed to be dismantled and recycled with limited waste.
  9. All design, fabrication, installation, maintenance and dismantling will be the responsibility of the student team.
  10. Teams must have fun!

Follow X-Square

Direct questions to xsquare@asu.edu.
Find more details about how X-Square developed on our blog.