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

 

11-17-14

Alumni Lecture Series | Julie Whyte

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Our Alumni Lecture Series is coming to a close this Friday and we couldn’t be happier to end with Julie Whyte. Julie is a 2012 graduate of the CUDC’s dual-degree Master of Architecture and Master of Urban Design program. Since graduation, she has pursued a multidisciplinary range of experiences, including regional planning for a non-profit organization and CUDC’s Post-Graduate Fellowship. She is currently employed as a Designer at Bialosky & Partners Architects.

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Surface Water and Watersheds map created for the NEOSCC  (Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium).

Julie’s talk, “Shifting Between Scales”, will be talking about her current position at Bialosky & Partners Architects, as well as, her time as the CUDC’s first Post-Graduate Fellow.julie_blog

Rendering created for Cleveland Magazine while at the CUDC.

As always our lectures are free and open to the public. 12-1pm at the CUDC, 1309 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200, Cleveland, OH 44115.


11-10-14

Alumni Lecture Series | Matt Schmidt

You’re running out of time to check out our Alumni Lecture Series. This Friday you are going to want to come and hear Matt Schmidt’s talk, Defining Community.  He will discuss how community and placemaking play a role in what we design, and how his own viewpoint of community has both evolved with, and been defined by, his work in architecture and planning since leaving Kent State and the CUDC. How we design with and for a community will be discussed, and the need for architects and planners to think differently about the environments we create as the communities we work in continue to change.

PowerPoint PresentationMatt is now a city planner and urban designer at The Trust for Public Land, Matt has worked on designing and developing parks and trails since he joined the organization in 2013. He is currently working on incorporating park amenities into green infrastructure projects in Cleveland and Milwaukee, as well as participating in the design and development of the Lake Link Trail in Cleveland’s Flats and a community-lead neighborhood green space initiative. Matt’s previous 13 years of experience at a Cleveland-based architecture and planning firm included the management and development of city master plans, multi-modal transportation studies, strategic neighborhood redevelopments and streetscape designs in communities throughout the region. Matt studied architecture at Kent State University, and completed his graduate degree at the Kent State Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. Matt serves on the Executive Committee of the Cleveland Chapter of the American Planning Association, and was recently honored to be included in the 2014 Crain’s Cleveland Business 40 Under 40.

PowerPoint PresentationAs always our lectures are free and open to the public. 12-1pm at the CUDC, 1309 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200, Cleveland, OH 44115.

11-03-14

Alumni Lecture Series | Claire Markwardt & Neil Reindel

clairelecture2014 Entry: Proposed Market and Mixed Use Development along the newly day lit French Lick Tributary.

We only have a few lectures left in our Alumni Lecture Series, and this week features recent graduates Claire Markwardt & Neil Reindel. Their talk, ULI Competition: Tips, Tricks, Trials and Tribulations, will focus on their experiences competing in the 2013 + 2014 ULI Gerald D. Hines Competitions.

Join us on Friday, from 12-1 pm, to learn tips and tricks for completing competitive entries while overcoming various trials and tribulations through the two week process. Ultimately, this presentation hopes to reveal the value of competitive design thinking, its importance as an integral part of the academic experience, and why it has continued to be an asset and continuing endeavor after graduation.

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2013 Team, “Active East”, (from left to right) David Jurca, Neil Reindel, Claire Markwardt, Abe Weiner, Ian Jones, and Greg Soltis. 

Claire Markwardt and Neil Reindel are recent Graduates of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. They received their Bachelors of Science in Architecture from Kent State University in May of 2012, and their Masters of Architecture and Masters of Urban Design from Kent State’s CUDC in May of 2014. While completing their studies, they were part of many local, national, and international design competitions. They received the following recognitions:

  • Individually, both were winners of the USA Firenze Competition in 2011
  • AIA Akron Student Design Award for Sony Center in 2012
  • ULI Gerald D. Hines Competition Honorable Mention for Active East with teammates Gregory Soltis, Abraham Weiner, and Ian Jones in 2013
  • AIA Cleveland Student Design Award for linC: Living Infrastructure Network_Cleveland in 2013
  • ULI Gerald D. Hines Competition Honorable Mention for Second Nature with teammates Abraham Weiner, Dan Whalen, and Tom Brown in 2014
  • ASLA Ohio Chapter Student Design Award for the Bike Box Living Roof Lab, where they served as project leads for the design constructed in 2013/2014

As always our lectures are free and open to the public. 12-1pm at the CUDC, 1309 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200, Cleveland, OH 44115.

 

10-31-14

Fall 2014 Conneaut Charrette: The Student Perspective

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This fall’s Community Design Charrette course, led by the CUDC’s David Jurca and Kristen Zieber, responded to the challenges and opportunities presented by the City of Conneaut, Ohio. What is a “charrette”? A charrette is fast-paced, collaborative work session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem. Charrettes serve as a way of quickly generating a design solution while integrating the aptitudes and interests of a diverse group of people.

The course primarily focused on the design issues related to the Conneaut community’s lakefront geography. Students worked in teams alongside CUDC staff and a few alumni to develop urban design proposals created in partnership with a range of community stakeholders. The engagement process was thorough, but accelerated, taking place over the course of a three-day weekend.

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Conneaut is located on the far eastern edge of Ohio, touching the Pennsylvania border. This Lake Erie oriented site offers opportunities for connecting ecotourism, diverse residential options, small town identity, and watershed health issues into a coherent vision plan. Students incorporated the research assembled in the Community Process & Development course into their hands-on community design work during the charrette.

In order to effectively and efficiently engage the range of issues presented by the project, students divided into four teams. Each team focused different, but overlapping, geographic areas. Second year graduate students led each team, with support from CUDC staff and alumni participating during the charrette weekend.

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We asked each team leader to write about their experience at the charrette and to further explain the projects they tackled.

Read more…

10-13-14

Capstone Research Conference | October 15

The Capstone Research Conference is a presentation of the CUDC’s 7 dual-degree students’ (MArch + MUD) initial capstone research through the first 7 -8 weeks of the semester. The conference is not a presentation of their capstone project. It is a presentation of each of their theories of the city, its well-being, and its future. Their hope for this conference is that it sparks interest and dialogue between everyone in attendance, and that it raises valuable questions that remain unanswered in our work.

Please join us at the CUDC from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm. This event is open to the public.

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10-07-14

Alumni Lecture Series | Theodore Ferringer

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Designer Theodore Ferringer, Assoc. AIA, LEED Assoc., joins us this Friday for another installment of our Alumni Lecture Series.

Theordore works, resides and advocates in Cleveland, OH. A graduate of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (MArch ’08, MUD ’08), his enthusiastic activism, creativity, and community involvement has led to roles on Cleveland’s East Side Design Review Committee, and the Bike Cleveland Advocacy Committee. Theodore is the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Ohio Valley Region Associate Director as a member of the National Associates Committee and is a Designer and the Business Development Director at Bialosky + Partners Architects.

Theodore’s talk, Designing in Public: Agency, Empowerment, & Sensibility or Towards A 21st Century Gesamtkunstwerk Via a Few Buildings, a Couple Panning Projects, Some Projects That Are Not Buildings, An Advocacy Issue, and a Couple Other Things focuses on these issues through lessons learned in his own career.

As always our Alumni Lecture Series is free and open to the public. Join us from 12-1 PM on October 10th, 1309 Euclid Ave, Suite 200.

 

09-26-14

Alumni Lecture Series | Kyle May

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Friday, October 3rd, we will be hosting a special evening Alumni Lecture at the CUDC featuring Kyle May.

His talk, Crisis Averted, examines how existing architectural models – of practicing, of publishing, of critiquing, of building – become more problematic and less viable, resistance becomes the manifesto of a new generation.

Join us at the CUDC from 5:30-6:30 pm for happy hour, including light appetizers. The lecture will begin at 6:30 pm.

Kyle May is a Principal at Abrahams May Architects in New York City, and co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of CLOG. He received his M.Arch from Kent State University, and worked at REX, Openshop|Studio, FACE Design + Fabrication, and Rogers Marvel Architects. He is registered in New York and Ohio. Kyle has been a visiting critic at Princeton University, Columbia GSAPP, University of Illinois, Syracuse University, Kent State University, and City College of New York CUNY; and has lectured at Yale, MIT, NYU, Barnard, KTH Stockholm and Lund University.

Alongside the eleven CLOG issues published thus far, Kyle has organized events, and lectures in New York, Boston, Miami, Chicago and Venice, and recently curated the exhibition “New Views: The Rendered Image in Architecture” at the Art Institute of Chicago. With Julia van den Hout, he is a 2014 Graham Foundation grant recipient for their upcoming book on Wallace Harrison, The Egg and the Extrusion.

5:30-6:30 pm - happy hour (provided by AIA Cleveland)

6:30 pm – Kyle May lecture

Please RSVP to the event here.

This event is free and open to the public. The CUDC is located at 1309 Euclid Ave., Suite 200, Cleveland, OH 44115.

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09-23-14

Alumni Lecture Series | Kat Keller

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We continue our Alumni Lecture Series this Friday, September 26th. We will be featuring architect & urban designer, Kat Keller.

Kat graduated in 2011 from the CUDC with MArch & MUD degrees. She has been living and practicing as a registered architect in greater Cleveland for 3 years. She currently works for City Architecture in MidTown as an architect & urban designer where she does a combination of planning work, streetscape design, residential & commercial architecture.

Her talk, A young Architect’s path: 3 years in, will discuss her path to finding a niche, getting through the ARE exams & IDP process and becoming licensed.

As always our Alumni Lecture Series is free and open to the public. Join us from 12-1 PM on September 26th, 1309 Euclid Ave, Suite 200.

 

09-15-14

Alumni Lecture Series| Rob & Melanie Dower

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This Friday, September 19th, Rob and Melanie Dower will discuss their personal journeys to establish their individual career paths, as they settled in the City of Pittsburgh.  They will discuss key moments in their career, defining projects, seizing opportunities, and the influential literature and mentors in their lives.  Rob and Melanie will share their experience balancing their family life while always striving to push themselves to the next level of their careers.  They will even touch on the struggle to have two architects attempt to renovate a home together!  Rob and Melanie look forward to being able to share the knowledge they have gained to date, and hope that it will help to inspire others to “Find the Right Fit”.

Melanie Buzgan Dower graduated from Kent State University with a Master of Architecture and Master of Urban Design in 2006. After graduation, Melanie moved to Pittsburgh and joined Rothschild Doyno Collaborative. Now an Associate, Melanie has spent her last 8 years expanding her leadership role. With a focus on workplace excellence and integrated systems, Melanie has carved her niche and found herself on a longer term trajectory in the firm. Melanie continues to balance her work-life ratio as an active mom of two, while also influencing some of the most meaningful architecture in the City of Pittsburgh.

Rob Dower graduated from Kent State University with a Master of Architecture and Certificate of Urban Design in 2006. After graduation, Rob moved to Pittsburgh and joined Strada Architecture, LLC. Immediately recognized as a key designer in the firm, Rob has worked closely on some of the most influential new projects in the City of Pittsburgh. Rob works on a wide array of project types and has continued to be a leader in the firm for the past 8 years.

As always our Alumni Lecture Series is free and open to the public. Join us from 12-1 PM on September 19th, 1309 Euclid Ave, Suite 200.

09-08-14

Alumni Lecture Series | Divya Sridhar | Sept. 12

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What would your neighborhood look like if your neighbors and you designed it together? What could the community look like if  it was built from a place of trust and respect towards each other, and nurtured local ecology? This Friday, September 12, Divya Sridhar will share how City Repair attempts to explore the power of people through collaborative place making in urban spaces, and reconnects them to each other and to the local environment.

Divya Sridhar is  a graduate of the M.Arch program from the class of 2006, and a LEED AP. She’s a Permaculture Certified Designer and a mom. She facilitates design approach and outcomes in neighborhoods for a process called City Repair. 

The Alumni Lecture Series is held from 12-1 pm at the CUDC, 1309 Euclid Ave., Suite 200. They are free and open to the public. View the full schedule of upcoming speakers here.

09-02-14

CAED Groundbreaking | October 3-4, 2014

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The weekend of October 3-4, 2014  Kent State University Alumni are invited to return to campus to see the changes and what the future holds for College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED). The college will be hosting a number of events to celebrate the groundbreaking for the new building; this is an ideal time to visit your alma mater!

The CAED wants this to be a great experience for you; a time to reconnect, participate in the building project and meet alumni from other years. More than 10 classes have committed to reunions and many alumni are planning to return to campus. Their hope is to have more than 150 alumni come back to campus and celebrate together.

Click to RSVP or learn more.

If you have any questions please contact Wiley Runnestrand (wrunnest[at]kent.edu) or Marti Ring (mkring1[at]kent.edu); especially if you are interested in planning a reunion for your class.

 

08-04-14

Commuting — and Connecting — Along a Crooked River

by Justin Glanville

My kayak’s bow splashes quietly through the river, my knuckles skimming the surface with each paddle. The water feels warmer than I expected, almost welcoming.

It doesn’t smell bad, either — just a mild mix of mud and ripe, midsummer leaves. This is a surprise in the infamous Cuyahoga River, once so polluted it caught fire repeatedly. Its last blaze, in 1969, got so much attention it inspired the federal Clean Water Act.

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Read more…

08-04-14

The CUDC Says Goodbye to its First Post Graduate Fellow

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Our first Post Graduate Fellow, Julie Whyte, will be leaving the CUDC after her year of service. The CUDC created the one-year position for graduates of KSU’s Master of Architecture, Master of Urban Design, or dual MArch/MUD program. Julie shared with us some of her thoughts about her time here at the CUDC and what she was able to accomplish. We wish her well in her next adventure!

What did this year-long Fellowship mean to you?
This year meant being able to be fully integrated into the workings of the CUDC, from the project side to the academic side. It meant the opportunity to work with and learn from a talented and multidisciplinary staff that is dedicated to promoting positive change in Cleveland and the broader region. I’ve spent the last year exploring what it means to work for a non-profit urban design practice and what it means to be a public-interest designer. On the personal side, I became a Clevelander, began volunteering to play piano for Alzheimer’s patients at a local nursing home, utilized public transit, and joined the local cycling community. Becoming ingrained in multiple aspects of the community expanded my perspective and enabled me to be a better designer.

What were some of the highlights of the Fellowship?
I’ve had the privilege in being involved with many great projects over the past year. One of my favorite projects is the Homeless Initiative, which focuses both on neighborhood-scale interventions to benefit the Campus District neighborhood as a whole, as well as targeted interventions to directly impact and benefit the homeless population. I have enjoyed working with the homeless, aiming to improve their quality of life and help provide them with a sense of empowerment, while working with local stakeholders with the goal of benefitting the entire neighborhood.

Another highlight was the opportunity I had to travel with the staff and students to Indiana for a charrette based in the Indianapolis’ midtown neighborhood. Throughout this design-intense weekend, we collaborated with staff and students from Detroit-based Lawrence Tech and Indiana’s own Ball State University. The students truly light up in that kind of interactive, hands-on environment, and they came up with some fantastic design ideas.

What will you miss most about working at the CUDC?
Aside from the people of course, I will most miss the projects. The CUDC consistently pursues the projects that truly matter. At the end of the day, you feel like you contributed to the community in a positive way. Whether the project is client-based or grant-funded, the CUDC strives to unearth the design solution or solutions that can most benefit the neighborhood where the project is located as well as the broader community.

What’s next for you upon the conclusion of the Fellowship?
What’s next for me is to shift to more Architectural work while still continuing to develop my skills in Urban Design. The Fellowship has been great for helping me along my path of figuring out where I fit in the design profession. I’m aiming to pursue both Architecture and Urban Design and to continually pursue work that is multidisciplinary, because I firmly belief that design is most powerful when it engages at multiple scales.