08-31-15

The CUDC welcomes Post Graduate Fellow, Sam Friesema

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The CUDC created the post graduate fellowship as a one-year position for graduates of KSU’s Master of Architecture, Master of Urban Design, or dual MArch/MUD program. This year we welcome Sam Friesema as our Post Graduate Fellow.

As an urban and architectural designer, Friesema seeks to engage with the theory and configuration of the built environment to enhance human flourishing in our cities and neighborhoods. His interests revolve around the interaction of architecture, policy, networks, and infrastructure space, to construct development models that appropriately contribute to globalizing and mechanized urban form. Sam has over ten years of architectural design experience at firms in Cleveland and Colorado. He received a Bachelor of Environmental Design and Architecture from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a Master of Urban Design from Kent State University at the CUDC in 2014. Sam is involved in urban design, teaching, and research at the CUDC.

We’re excited to have Sam on board!

08-04-15

Making Our Own Space (MOOS) focuses on youth to build community environments

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Created in January 2015, MakingOurOwnSpace (MOOS) is a collaborative effort between Cleveland youth and local design professionals to empower the next generation of placemakers. Led by the CUDC, the project trains middle and high school students as community designers. Over the course of nine months, students will design and construct multiple public environments and outdoor playscapes.

Britt Oval, a large green space across the street from St. Luke’s Pointe, will serve as the site for all the outdoor constructions. Three on-site projects will be built by the students to respond to changing weather conditions and user preferences. Although the projects will be short-term, they are intended to guide future investments in permanent public space enhancements on the site.

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Youth participating in the MOOS project include 7th & 8th graders from the Boys and Girls Clubs and high school students from East End Youth Services. The students, along with two adult leaders from the local community, will be paid a stipend for their participation. The project will increase collaboration across community-based organizations, residents, and public/private partners. The CUDC has brought in architect Erick Rodriguez and graphic designer Arlene Watson to teach workshops. As well as, Alex Gilliam of Public Workshop to teach a week long class.

Freshwater Cleveland recently spoke with David Jurca, our Associate Director and one of the leaders spearheading MOOS about the initiative and our upcoming event Splash on Britt Oval that is taking place on August 8th. Here is an excerpt from the article:

“On a sunny Friday afternoon at the park, Jurca asks Streeter and McClain-Ferrell, “What do you hope to get from this?”

“To get people to come and keep coming back. So they want to build things of their own,” says McClain-Ferrell. “I just want to be able to say, ‘I made that.’”

This is their park made to their specifications. And that’s no small feat.

Jurca knows that although community planning often focuses on creating spaces for youth, those very same voices are regularly left out of the actual discussion. The format of public meetings aren’t aligned to make them feel welcome, Jurca says, whether it’s the time, location or questions asked.”

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Learn more about MOOS and read the entire article here. Also come out this Saturday and check it out for yourself. There will be music, games, hot dogs and ice cream from 12-2 PM. The event is free and open to the public and will be happening rain or shine. Britt Oval is located across the street from Saint Luke’s Foundation, 11327 Shaker Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44104.

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08-04-15

CPL150: Community Vision Plan released and available for download

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The CUDC partnered with the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) to conduct a planning process with four branch communities, together envisioning the 21st century library. CPL faces a challenge familiar to many institutions serving communities in Cleveland: How can we best meet the needs of our patrons in a changing context of new technologies, aging facilities, and declining population? CPL’s response to this question must be crafted individually for each branch neighborhood, based on the unique demands and opportunities present in those communities. The CUDC’s local knowledge of Cleveland neighborhoods and expertise in public engagement, depopulation research, and physical urban planning provide the complementary skills to enable CPL to take the next step in crafting an equitable Community Vision Plan.

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The report articulates a wide-range of community priorities and reveals a clearer vision of the library’s role in each target area. Neighborhood asset maps, programming concepts, and visual renderings produced through this process enable CPL to now conduct a finer grain analysis of the operational costs, interior architectural feasibility, and financial investments required to commit limited resources appropriately. The CPL150: Community Vision Plan provides a road-map for actions worthy to celebrate in 2019 and beyond.

The CPL150 Community Vision Plan | Group 1 report includes recommendations for four initial branch communities:

  • Fleet Branch Slavic Village neighborhood
  • South Branch Clark-Fulton and Tremont neighborhoods
  • Sterling Branch Campus District and Central neighborhoods
  • Woodland Branch Central and Kinsman neighborhoods

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The branches in the Community Vision Plan have been selected by CPL and their order of participation in the process has been determined through conversations with local public officials. The planning process is expected to be refined and expanded beyond this first group to include additional CPL branch neighborhoods.

Final recommendations for the current target neighborhoods were developed by the CUDC in close partnership with CPL and Enlightenment Consulting Group (ECG), through a carefully designed engagement process for each of the targeted branch locations. ECG’s previous work gathered feedback from residents that promote community building and address community deficits. Building upon this initial engagement process, the CUDC advanced the community conversations into the realm of physical planning. Gathering abundant feedback, the CUDC led 6 focus group sessions, 8 public meetings, 12 advisory committee meetings, and collected over 280 surveys in English and Spanish. In order to stay connected with people unable to attend meetings in person, the design team shared frequent updates on the process through a project website at www.CPL150.org.

The CPL150: Community Vision Plan articulates a wide-range of community priorities and reveals a clearer vision of the library’s role in each target area. Neighborhood asset maps, programming concepts, and visual renderings produced through this process enable CPL to now conduct a finer grain analysis of the operational costs, interior architectural feasibility, and financial investments required to commit limited resources appropriately.

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08-03-15

CUDC Alumni ‘Branch Out’ at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens

The Cleveland Botanical Garden has a special exhibit on display called Branch Out. They invite you to explore a series of magical, interactive tree houses throughout the garden. Its a chance for kids (and adults) to put away technology and let their imagination run wild. Each tree house explores a theme connected to learning and fun including art, music, reading, math and play.

The tree houses were designed by local architects several of whom are CUDC alums. Two Teams of CUDC alums participated ThenDesign Architecture who built Jack and the Giant Pulpit and Sap +Iron Design|Build who built Acoustic Canopy and Seasons.

The team from ThenDesign Architecture included CUDC alums Wade Kratzer, Mia Katz, Claire Markwardt, Steve Bell, and Scott Alleman. Jeff Henderson of Ohio State University and Ed Parker of Kent State University were also on the team. We spoke with the team about their design,  Jack in the Giant Pulpit. Here is what they had to say about their design process and working with the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.

“We surround ourselves with design; it is our livelihood. All of us find ourselves in nature whether it’s exploring on our own, or designing within, so when the Cleveland Botanical Gardens released a Competition to design a Treehouse, it was something that we could not pass up. It combined the opportunity to design with nature in the most literal way. During the competition process, we challenged ourselves to understand what a treehouse was and what a treehouse could be. Is it a shelter? Is it a private getaway? Is it a platform to overlook nature? Could it be all of these and more?

Our love of nature skewed us to think of what nature is. How big in reality it is compared to humans and how our imagination always leads us to get lost within it. We began thinking of folk-lore and Science-Fiction and other childhood tall tales that involved nature. This led us to expand upon the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, giving us the opportunity to work a Giant Jack in the Pulpit into the story, so that adults and children alike could have the opportunity to participate in the tale.”

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The team from Sap + Iron Design|Build  consisted current and former CUDC students including Mykie Hrusovski, Alan Hipps, Jessie Hawkins, Adrian Marti, and Charles Fredrick who is an Assistant Professor and Interim Director of the Master of Landscape Architecture Program. Of the five projects that ultimately got selected for construction via a juried competition, two of their submissions were accepted. Of note, the jury was headed by Pete Nelson, the Tree House Master!
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The houses each have a particular theme, Acoustic Canopy being a tree house that has built-in, bespoke musical instruments that encourages children to make and discover noises within the tree canopy, and Seasons being a small outdoor reading room for children. Both houses have a lot of custom details and features that were either planned from the beginning, or evolved as the project progressed. Another important note to emphasize is that Sap + Iron’s contractor was unable to commit to the project as it was beginning, so their team ended up constructing, rigging and installing everything by themselves.

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Interesting facts:

  • The Acoustic Canopy project weighs well over 2.5 tons, and was lifted manually by only four people over the course of 2 days.
  • The tree that supports it is a Dawn Redwood which is a species thought to have gone extinct many millions of years ago, but was rediscovered and introduced to the U.S. only about 50 years ago as seeds and saplings. It’s already about 160′ tall.
  •  The Seasons Reading Room’s exterior is wrapped in Western Red Cedar that was hand-charred with a torch. This gives it its iridescent black color which serves a couple of purposes; a pleasing aesthetic, weather protection, rot resistance and insect repellency, (bugs don’t enjoy the taste of burnt wood).

We’re pleased to see our students working on such creative endeavors. The tree houses will be on display from now until August 23rd. Go out and explore the tree houses today!