Mercyhurst Magazine Spring 2018

The man behind Mercyhurst’s new architectural footprint By Deborah W. Morton

’ has taken one bold step after another in transforming Mercyhurst s architectural footprint. ’ His frst blip on the college community s radar came with the renovation of the student union at Mercyhurst North East. His quirky design elicited universal oohs and ahhs. (See photos at right.) Then, Cal Pifer, vice president for external relations and advancement, plucked Asef from the classroom to design two more projects, both in the library: on the ground foor, a cyber security lab and Network Operations Center; and on the main foor, a complete overhaul of the lobby and surrounding study spaces, including the Ridge Reading Room. ’ What s not widely known is just how Asef came to be tapped for these jobs. Enter David Myron, vice president for fnance and administration. Myron began his Mercyhurst tenure nearly three years ago as renovations were underway in Egan dining hall. He felt something was missing; more open spaces were needed, not to mention some accouterments to add personality. Certainly among Mercyhurst s ’ From the farthest reaches of campus – the Interior Architecture & Design Department on Wayne Street – came a virtual unknown in instructor Keyman Asef who, since discovered,

’ He says Mercyhurst s leaders, like him, think outside the box and are open to innovative design ideas. In dedicating the MNE student union last fall, Mercyhurst President Michael Victor told the assembled crowd: “I have been through a fair number of building projects in my lifetime, and I can honestly say this is the frst one to completely exceed my expectations. ” talented faculty, there had to be someone whose mind he could pick. So, he reached out to Kathy Weidenboerner, chair of the Interior Architecture & Design Department. She recommended Asef, who helped Myron tweak what would later become the trendy Grotto Commons. Asef grew up in Tehran, the son of a developer who built houses for quick sale. Even then, Asef yearned to put his mark on the spaces, so he went of to study and later work in Southeast Asia, eventually making his way to the United States to learn frsthand about American architecture. He has been an instructor at Mercyhurst since 2015. Asef explained his vision: “I tried to shape an environment on multiple levels where students could hang out together, or be on their own;


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