Brooklyn architect Susan G. Doban, principal of Susan Doban Architect, PC, is pleased to announce the completion of an academic and administrative building her firm designed for a local college that will contribute to the revitalization of a New York metropolitan area business district.
Ms. Doban, who serves as vice chair of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, transformed an abandoned commercial property into Milavec Hall, a 22,000 square foot building that opened in September at Monroe College’s campus on Main Street in downtown New Rochelle. For the $2.8 million gut renovation project, Ms. Doban designed classrooms, offices, and a new façade for the building, which will serve as the gateway to the college’s east campus and unify some the college’s facilities that are located in several buildings on Main Street.
“The Milavec Hall project was rewarding because it brought together my years of experience designing educational facilities, improving commercial strips, creating commercial interiors, and restoring façades,” Ms. Doban said.
“One of the architectural challenges of the Milavec Hall project was to bring light and a sense of openness into the building, which faces Main Street and would be naturally dark because it is built into a hill,” Ms. Doban said. “Our solution was to create a large center space with a feature skylight to bring in natural light and create a focal point for the building. We also introduced interesting colors and patterns throughout so that even relatively modest finishes are playful and inviting. At the same time, we used finer materials at key locations, such as granite and limestone columns for the façade and custom light fixtures, to communicate the importance of the building as the centerpiece of an educational institution.”
For the next phase of the campus development, Ms. Doban has designed a six-story, 45,000 square foot, 200-student dormitory adjacent to Milavec Hall on which construction will begin in the next several months. Both projects are part of the master plan that Ms. Doban helped create for Monroe College’s newly acquired 1.5 acre site in downtown New Rochelle. Monroe College’s main campus is in the Bronx.
“We wanted people to walk into Milavec Hall and recognize it as a place for learning,” said Marc Jerome, vice president, Monroe College. “Susan has responded magnificently to our goals, and through her design is creating architectural assets for Monroe College and the community as a whole.”
Ralph DiBart, executive director of the Downtown New Rochelle Business Improvement District, also praised the project.
“Susan took a 22,000 square foot building that had been vacant for years and turned it into a glorious building—Milavec Hall,” said Mr. DiBart, who is the driving force behind the downtown redevelopment that includes the conversion of former Bloomingdales and Lillian Vernon stores and other sites into luxury housing on the west end of Main Street. “The Monroe College dormitory building will further complete the improvements to Main Street, increase economic development, and bring new life to the east end of the BID district. By bringing in investment and quality design to New Rochelle, Monroe College is serving as both an educational and economic institution for our community.”
In addition to numerous educational, commercial, and residential projects in Manhattan, Westchester, and New England, Ms. Doban’s firm has worked extensively designing projects in Brooklyn. Her projects include the design for the new home of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce at 25 Elm Place, to be occupied in fall 2003. She also was responsible for the streetscape design for improvements to Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay and the design of two recently completed storefront projects in Brooklyn—the Peaches and Cream Ice Cream Shop on Myrtle Avenue and the Sugarcane Restaurant on Flatbush Avenue.
She has worked as a consultant on numerous educational projects, including the $20 million exterior modernization of five New York City public schools; design documents for the new PS 7 in Brooklyn, incorporating Board of Education standards for details and furnishings; and the new landscaped campus, quadrangle, and athletic fields for the new Kew Gardens, Queens, campus of Touro College, including entrance gates and active and passive recreation areas, for a construction cost of $3 million; and numerous projects in the Central Islip Union Free School District including exterior modernizations and master planning.
Ms. Doban founded her firm in 1996 and has more than 17 years of experience in the design and management of architectural and planning projects. She received an award from the Cambridge Historical Commission for “an outstanding achievement in historic preservation” for the repair and restoration of an elaborate concrete façade and retail storefronts for a 45,000 square foot office building owned by Massave Realty Trust and constructed in the 1920′s for Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. She also served as the Façade Improvement Program Architect for Yonkers where she was involved with the design of several projects on Main Street.
Ms. Doban was previously an associate at the New York firm of Fox & Fowle, Architects, PC, where her assignments included high-rise residential and commercial projects in Manhattan, the tri-state area, as well as Germany and China. Prior to that, Ms. Doban worked on numerous retail projects and the renovation of Madison Square Garden at the New York firms of Clark Tribble Harris & Li and at Warner Burns Toan Lunde.
Ms. Doban received her M. Arch. Degree from Columbia University in 1985 where she received the Kinne Traveling Fellowship for the study of American Urban Waterfronts. She graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 1980. She is a member of the AIA and a licensed architect in New York and Massachusetts, and is certified by the NCARB. In addition to serving on the board of directors of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Doban is chairperson of the Chamber’s Small Business Seminar Committee and has served as a judge for the Build Brooklyn Awards for the last three years. She has served on the Board of Managers of the Prospect Park YMCA, as a volunteer garden guide at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and on a special committee of the Real Estate Board of New York and the Port Authority to address building code revisions to improve safety after the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. She is a leader of Girl Scout Troop 2442 in Brooklyn, and resides in Park Slope with her husband and two daughters.
Founded in 1933, Monroe College was originally the Monroe School of Business, located in the West Farms section of the Bronx. In 1963, it became the Monroe Business Institute and four years later opened a branch on Fordham Road. In 1997, Monroe started offering baccalaureate programs and degrees. With a campus in the Fordham section of the Bronx and facilities in New Rochelle, Monroe offers associate degrees in accounting, business administration, computer information systems, computerized office technology, criminal justice, health office associate, and hospitality and tourism management, and bachelor’s degrees in accounting, business management, computer information systems, criminal justice, and general business. In June 2003, a record 1,710 students graduated from Monroe. More information is available at www.monroecollege.edu.