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College for Creative Studies Inspires Students and Anticipates Exciting Growth in 2009

Past creative excellence has long served as valuable inspiration for new ideas, whether it’s designing an automobile, crafting a new tune, or some other creative endeavor.

College for Creative Studies (CCS) is using an architectural icon in Detroit’s New Center area, the historic Argonaut Building, as the basis for a major campus expansion that will serve as an educational hub for art and design when it opens in fall 2009.
College for Creative Studies (CCS)
The Argonaut Building has long been linked to ingenious design and creative excellence. The building was designed by Detroit architect Albert Kahn in 1927 and served as home to Harley J. Earl and his crew of car designers from General Motors Styling until 1956.

In late 2007, General Motors donated the 10-story building to College for Creative Studies.

The ambitious $145 million project will redevelop the Argonaut Building into a second CCS campus and upgrade the existing campus in Detroit’s Cultural Center area.

The new campus location will include facilities for undergraduate and graduate design programs, outreach programs, and student housing. A new conference center with a 400-seat auditorium and a 360-seat dining hall will be part of the project, and there will also be a charter middle school and high school that will emphasize art and design. The new CCS campus will have a high-speed connection to Merit Network’s backbone network.

New Program Bows in 2009

Next fall will not only feature the unveiling of a second new campus for CCS, it will also mark the start of the College’s new Master of Fine Arts in Transportation Design program.

College for Creative Studies has been at the forefront of transportation design education for many years, placing more graduates into automotive design positions than any other institution. The new Master of Fine Arts program will further distinguish CCS and provide students with the opportunity to increase their design knowledge.

The innovative Master’s program will prepare students for leadership positions in design industries and include a full curriculum of design courses. In addition, students will take business courses through a partnership with University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. The new program will be housed in the Argonaut Building location, returning the facility to its roots as an inspiration for car designers.

Recently, Larry Erickson, who previously served as chief designer for Ford Motor Company’s Strategic Design Group, was picked to lead the College for Creative Studies’ Transportation Design Program. Erickson, who previously taught courses at CCS, will lead a group of distinguished faculty that includes Mark West, former senior design manager for Visteon Corporation, and Kunihisa Ito, a former Ford and Nissan designer and regular columnist for Car Styling magazine.

Becoming Leaders in the Field

CCS Transportation Design students develop their skills not only through course work but through projects sponsored by automakers. Ford, Nissan and General Motors have each sponsored recent projects that present students with real-world situations and challenge them to create vehicle concepts.

  • In May 2008, Ford challenged eleven CCS students to create the new Model T, developing an affordable vehicle that would impact today’s society like the original Ford Model T did years ago. The junior-level students worked on their designs throughout the 16-week semester before presenting their sketches, renderings, and one-quarter scale models to Ford design executives Peter Horbury and Pat Schiavone.
  • In January 2008, senior transportation design students were asked to think ahead to the year 2015 and design a vehicle for Nissan that will meet safety regulations and environmental standards and can be sold for $2,400. The students designed a basic two-passenger vehicle with an appropriate amount of features and comfort that could accommodate a small amount of luggage and presented their design to Nissan.
  • During the fall of 2007, Milton Ruiz and Ian Hedge, junior transportation design students, worked on a project sponsored by General Motors. With the goal of finding innovative ways to use General Motors’ E-Flex technology, students created concepts that used a lithium ion battery, motor/generator set, electric traction motor, and on-board fuel source with an E-Flex powertrain. At the conclusion of the semester, the creative concepts were presented to a panel of GM design experts to review. The project results were also displayed at the 2008 North America International Auto Show in Detroit.

Through innovative programs and its partnerships with automotive companies, College for Creative Studies has established itself as a leader in transportation design education. By expanding its Detroit campus and offering the new Master of Fine Arts in Transportation Design program, CCS is providing even greater inspiration to the car designers of tomorrow.

About College for Creative Studies

The College for Creative Studies is one of the nation’s leading fine arts education institutions. CCS is a private, fully accredited, four-year college located in Detroit, offering Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in eleven studio majors. The College provides a dynamic learning environment where students explore issues of art and design, and the culture in which they exist, while preparing for careers in the professional world. CCS has been a Member of Merit Network since December 1996.