12-23-14

Student Perspective | Jordan Charles | Urban Proxy

We recently interviewed Master of Architecture (MArch) student, Jordan Charles, about his independent studio project “Urban Proxy”. Read our interview below to learn more about this unique project.

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Hi Jordan, introduce yourself, what is your background?

My name is Jordan Charles, most of my friends know me as Peezy. I like to consider myself an “architect in training” striving to acquire his Master of Architecture during the day and a superhero at night. I pretty much have the same profile as some other individuals in the field – jack of all trades, master of none. However, I do take pride in my drawing abilities. While they aren’t where I’d like them to be they are good enough to allow me to make sense of my ideas and transfer them from my thoughts to paper.

What studio was this project for?

“Urban Proxy” was my final project for the independent studio I had taken up to fulfill the final requirements for my MArch. I had derived from the typical trajectory for the CUDC’s MArch program due to conflicts with my summer schedule and the required summer studio. So instead of taking the summer studio, I pushed the studio back to the following fall semester which is where it had morphed into an independent studio. However, I am pleased with how the adjustment worked out. I believe the independent studio gave me the freedom necessary to create “Urban Proxy”.

27_560How did you come to choose your topic?

“Urban Proxy” embodies a lot of personal beliefs I have in regards to design and architecture. People are in part defined by their experiences and architecture provides a stage for experiences to occur, so in theory architecture defines people. I wanted this project to provide a stage where positive experiences could occur for individuals that may feel they didn’t have a proper place within the city.

At the root, what is “Urban Proxy” about?

The genesis of Urban Proxy initiated with the intent of devising a scheme that resisted a static nature in search of a proposal that could be primarily flexible. The idea of flexibility sparked a desire to devise a plan to produce both programmatic and architectural elements that were freed from shackles. Change occurs more frequently than ever before and as society (thus the city) change, more should be expected from our environments. To be able to keep up with the changes, adaptability is a trait critical to designs that intend to remain relevant. Read more…

12-19-14

Student Perspective| Tyler Middendorf | Detroit Charrette

As the year comes to a close, we here at the CUDC, are looking back at some of our students accomplishments and their achievements throughout the semester. MArch & MUD student, Tyler Middendorf, participated in a design charrette in Detroit, MI. We asked him to write about his experience for our blog. Read Tyler’s story below and get a glimpse of the student perspective.


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When the semester first began, I was asked if I would like to participate in a design charrette in Detroit. To be perfectly honest, I did not know exactly what a charrette was, but, as jumping into an adventure head first is my nature, I did not hesitate to accept the invitation.

Ultimately though, that is what a charrette is all about; a bunch of adventurous minds jumping into a new problem together and exploring the possibilities. As the home team, Lawrence Technological University knew the lay of the land, both in terms of the design site and the studio. The visitors, Ball State University and your hometown heroes from Kent State, provided the distanced outside perspective; the “fresh take.” This mashup of perspectives allowed for informed design that did not get too caught up in the particulars involved in the typical design process.

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The three day charrette went quickly, to say the very least. We arrived to Detroit, our trace paper and markers in tow, with just enough time to get a quick and dirty tour of the city and throw down some BBQ. Still wiping the sauce from our faces, we were swept onto a tour bus to visit our design site, the Marina District, about 4 ½ miles northeast of downtown. We drove the site with local narration, giving us just enough background information to really start asking questions. Shortly after, we met with a couple of Marina District citizens who presented what they saw as the gems and the germs of the site. After a delicious dinner of lamb and flaming cheese (Opa!) we headed to Lawrence Tech’s downtown studio and split up into three teams, each one a blend of the three participating schools.

We started off the design process by listing the key problems of the district that we had heard throughout the day, and from there laid out our project goals. We then broke off into sub committees to draw site analysis diagrams addressing the problems and goals we had listed. We drew until night became day. We drew until even our Microns were tired. We drew until the project finally insisted that it needed a break from us, and only then did we return to the hotel.

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We were back at it early the next morning though, only now we were overlaying our analysis diagrams, tracing their interactions, identifying nodes, and extracting pathways. There were mounds of trace, transparencies covering all surfaces in the room. With these nodes and pathways identified, we were ready to really begin producing. We drew sections that gave the streets personalities and signage and symbols that gave the district identity. The waterfront, bike paths, and commercial streets were illustrated. Again, we drew late into the night, taking breaks only for coffee and pizza.

The next morning was crunch time. Though we had been working hard, there was still much left to do, much more visual explanation required to make the locals see what we saw in their district. We worked until the zero hour. With only minutes before the presentation, we decided who would explain each part of the project, and we formed a rough and rudimentary outline of our speech. The ink on the master plan was not yet dry when we hung it on the wall for review.

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Each team presented their project, and it was fairly remarkable the differences that had emerged between each in the short span of time. The local natives gave us their feedback on our work, and just like that, the intensive three day design session drew to a close.

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In the end, perhaps we gave the Marina District residents some new ideas, and hopefully at least a few of them were good. Beyond that, we got to learn from our peers from other places, exposing us to different methods and different graphic techniques. We learned the value of quick iteration which can be applied to the long and tedious projects with which we are typically involved, helping us to move through problems with just a little more ease. Most importantly, the charrette was also a reminder of why we do architecture and urban design in the first place. We aim to improve the world in some capacity, and if we can achieve that to any extent in just three days, imagine what we might do with the rest of our lives?

-Tyler Middendorf, MArch/MUD

 

12-02-14

Applications for SPACES R&D Season ends December 5

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SPACES Gallery is exploring the concept of Invisibility during its 2016 R&D season in order to bridge different artistic disciplines through a holistic framework, connect various projects across multiple platforms, and encourage an investigative examination of timely issues.

This open call requests that artists respond to Invisibility with proposals that explore the theme for its multiple dimensions, including but not limited to: labor, surveillance, debt, dematerialization, power, marginalization, transparency, hidden structures. They are especially interested in projects that expand conventional notions of Invisibility while offering new insight into contemporary art and exhibition-making.

This call-for-entries is open to all established or emerging artists, curators and cultural producers who are 21 years old or older. Applications must show a response to the theme of Invisibility, a strong conceptual grounding, and a willingness to delve into research and then develop that research into projects.

The deadline for applications is December 5, 2014. For more information and to apply please visit here.

12-01-14

Night Market Preview | December 6

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All are welcome to come enjoy live music, fire side chats, cold weather wear swap, gift wrapping and FREE lantern making at the Night Market Preview—located in the Superior Arts Neighborhood of Cleveland’s Campus District. This is a smaller scale version of the Night Market planned by St. Clair Superior this spring. The event invites us all to join in the holiday spirit for an outdoor evening of fun!

WHEN: Saturday, December 6th
4-8 PM Night Market Preview
5-7 PM FREE chili from The Manna Truck
6 PM Superior Arts Banner Celebration
WHERE: 2203 Superior Ave.
BRING: If you can, something for the cold weather wear swap!

The event will coincide with the 27th Annual Holiday Open Studio & Sale taking place at the ArtCraft Building, 2570 Superior Ave. Tower Press & Artefino, 1900 Superior Ave. will also be hosting open studios and displaying local artwork.

The event is a partnership of Campus District, Inc., Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, St. Clair Superior Development Corporation, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, Brite Winter, Needs Cleveland, and Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

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12-01-14

The CUDC Celebrates 15 Years!

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Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design invites you to the CUDC’s 15th Anniversary Party on Friday, December 5.

For fifteen years the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative has been improving the built environment through design assistance, research, education, and advocacy. See how our work has transformed through the years, view student work from past and present, and the release of our 7th Volume of Urban Infill: Historic Preservation & Urban Change.

Hors d’oeuvres & drinks provided.

Please RSVP here.

Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
1309 Euclid Ave., Suite 200
Cleveland, OH 44115

Friday, December 5, 2014 from 5 – 7 PM