The Foundry, most recently home to sculpture students and faculty, as well as students in the M.F.A. in creative visual arts program, is undergoing extensive renovation. The project will include aesthetic and functional updates to the full interior, an expansion of the sculpture area, and the critical addition of ventilation, cooling, and insulation to the historic building. The oldest in the suite of buildings comprising the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP), The Foundry was originally designed as a blacksmith shop in the 1860s by Charles Babcock, the first professor of architecture at Cornell. The building later became part of the Sibley College of Mechanical Engineering, was assigned to AAP in the 1960s, and the sculpture studio moved from Tjaden Hall to The Foundry. Later this year, thanks to a generous gift from Cornell trustee emeritus and mechanical engineering alumnus Robert T. Blakely III '63, '65, and his wife, Pinky Keehner, art students and faculty will return to an expanded classroom that doubles the size of the sculpture area named in honor of late art professor emeritus and prolific sculptor Jack Squier (M.F.A. '52), as well as to 12 new private graduate student studios and a group critique space.
Blakely and Keehner's support for the project stems from a high regard for Squier, his approachability, expertise, and the unique legacy he created at Cornell. In his 47 years of teaching sculpture in the Department of Art, Squier was admired by many for his dedication to art education, for his commitment to his students, and for advancing creativity with his deep interest in experimentation, devotion to craft, and fascination with ancient cultures that drove much of his work.