By Bruce Hallmark (M.S., ’04)

This past June, the University Advancement videography team of Brian Buss and Marketa Jancar was asked to take a still photograph of the Green and Gold Foundation Lower Terrace at the Nancy Richardson Design Center.

As you might expect, creating the scene that became the final shot (above) was a fascinating culmination of talent, creativity, commitment, planning, … and a little luck.

Buss and Jancar visited the terrace on two separate occasions to brainstorm ideas. But nothing they came up with seemed to represent the space, so they decided to schedule a tour of the RDC to generate some ideas.

Laura Malinin, Ph.D., associate professor of interior architecture and design, and director of the RDC, gave them a personal tour highlighting the purpose and activities of the Center, Colorado State University’s only interdisciplinary, hands-on learning space bringing together students, faculty, and community and industry partners to use design thinking and modern technologies to solve global problems.

Getting more familiar with their subject sparked an idea for Buss and Jancar: the photograph needed to creatively represent the work of the RDC. As Buss said, “we wanted to bring the inside of the Design Center out to showcase the terrace.” Planning commenced and a photo shoot date was scheduled.

Terrace with a woman posing on a table
The Green and Gold Foundation Lower Terrace comes to life at the Nancy Richardson Design Center

On July 13, Buss and Jancar arrived at the RDC at 5 p.m. to begin setting up for the 8 p.m. photo shoot. The typically clear blue Colorado sky they were counting on was unusually cloudy and muted, but the photo shoot needed to go on. There were just too many moving pieces to reschedule: a dozen students, faculty, and staff were showing up at 7:30 p.m. to participate, a bank of the stadium’s lights was turned on and staff positioned on the top deck waving flags, props and lights were set up, and a garden hose was even secured to wet down the backwall to enhance the terrace name and the texture of the concrete.

Also, Buss had enlisted the help of Madeline Harvey, assistant professor of dance in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance. They had worked together in 2019 on a video project, titled Embodiment. For her pirouette at the center of the photo, she chose the red dress and scarf as a nod to “RDC red,” an accent color used throughout the Center that appeals to Richardson. Similarly, in the upper right corner of the photo, a student carries a red dress made by Jennifer Jeanneret (M.S., ‘18), an instructor and internship coordinator for the Department of Design and Merchandising, who created patterns in the dress using a laser cutter at the RDC.

After admittedly dragging his feet a little hoping for better weather, Buss finally got a sunset sky he could work with. The photo shoot anticipated to be 15 minutes took nearly an hour as participants walked, waved, and jumped nearly 50 times. Everything finally came together in the photograph captured about 8:45 p.m.

“We made the choice to swing for the fences,” Buss said of his and Jancar’s vision and efforts. “We wanted to do something that got noticed and appealed to our donors and alumni; something that honored the space and clearly showed how much we care.”