09-13-16

INDEX Studio: Cleveland x Havana Report

Blog_Cuba Final for KSU 7

Kent State University’s College of Architecture + Environmental Design offers an annual research studio dedicated to international design exchanges. The 15-week studio is based at KSU’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC). In 2016, the INDEX Studio examined relationships between Cleveland, Ohio and Havana, Cuba. By comparing these very different urban contexts, the studio provided new insights into familiar places and a better understanding of the challenges facing global cities.

Read and download the full report, written in English and Spanish, below.

Twelve graduate students generated proposals for a waterfront site in each of the two cities. The Cleveland site is the now-defunct Lakeshore Coal Plant, a monumental structure on a 60 acre site along the city’s eastern lakefront. The Havana counterpart is the Nico-Lopez Oil Refinery, a 500 acre facility still functioning as a refinery on the southeastern banks of Havana Bay.

Ash Pond ParkGraduate students Alexander Scott and Jordan Fitzgerald re-envisioned the Lakeshore Coal Plant as a regional destination for industrial arts preservation and production, located in close proximity to Cleveland’s University Circle arts and culture district.

Proposed Havana Bay Waterfront DevelopmentGraduate student Morgan Gundlach examined the opportunities to incorporate the 5′ (1.50 m) sea-level rise expected by 2100 by creating a dynamic ribbon of green spaces along Havana Bay’s waterfront.  

Students met with a range of design professionals and local experts while in Havana. These insights and direct observations gathered during the five day travel formed the basis of urban design proposals shown in the report. At the conclusion of the studio, students received feedback on their proposals from Cuban architects Ernesto Jimenez and Sofia Marquez Aguiar during the architects’ visit to Cleveland. The students’ design work will be exhibited in Havana, at the Fabrica de Arte Cubano, in Spring 2017.

The INDEX Studio is part of the curriculum for the Master of Architecture and Master of Urban Design programs in Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED). Kent State is committed to global education and expanding the cultural literacy of our students. Cuba offers a remarkably complex and locally relevant range of design opportunities. This initial studio is a first step toward establishing relationships with colleagues and collaborators in Cuba.

View and download the full report below:

Support for the travelling studio was generously provided by The Cleveland Foundation.

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