11-14-17

Associate Director, David Jurca, Wins AIA Activism Award

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The AIA Cleveland Activism Award recognizes local emerging leaders who are influencing a sustainable future of the profession by making architecture/interior design accessible and relevant to the public while both educating and learning from the broader community.

David Jurca has dedicated his professional career to enhancing the built environment through meaningful engagement with the local community. As Associate Director of Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, David guides the office’s professional practice, research projects, and graduate teaching with a commitment to equity.

David is a relentless advocate for his students. He aims beyond expectations to create recognition opportunities for aspiring leaders in Kent State’s Cleveland programs. Students led by David received Honorable Mentions in the International ULI Hines Competition, Second Place in Miami’s DawnTown Mobility Competition, the Excellence in Student Planning Award from the American Planning Association, as well as Merit and Honor Awards from AIA Cleveland.

In 2013, David launched COLDSCAPES.org to spur creative design in winter cities. He also co-founded Design Diversity, an initiative to promote people of color in architecture and design professions in Northeast Ohio. Design Diversity has organized local networking events, national speaking engagements, and the soon-to-be released Design Diversity Index, an online tool to track diversity data for design schools and professional affiliations in Ohio. In support of Design Diversity’s mission, David leads Making Our Own Space (MOOS), a youth design program that trains students to envision and build their own public space improvements. MOOS was awarded the 2017 Place Planning Award from the Environmental Design Research Association.

Beyond his professional commitments, David contributes to the Greater Cleveland community through dedicated volunteer service. He served on the Franklin-West Clinton Landmarks Advisory Committee, Friends of the Romanian Culture Garden Committee, Bike Cleveland advocacy campaigns, and the Gateway District Public Realm Advisory Committee. David has been a member of the City of Cleveland’s Near West Design Review Committee for over four years, currently serving as Committee Chair. This year, David was also appointed to the Board of Directors for Canalway Partners.

Congratulations David!

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10-17-17

Cleveland Public Library: Community Vision Plan Wrap-Up!

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We’re happy to announce the final publication of our CPL150 Community Vision Plan!

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For the past three years, CUDC staff have been working with the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) on their Community Vision Plan. One of CPL’s strategic priorities is to prepare the library system for its 150th anniversary, in 2019. CPL150, the name of the engagement process, involved 13 of the system’s 27 branch communities to ask what they need from their local library branch.

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? How can each branch custom-tailor its library experience to meet the specific needs of its community?

For each group of branches, the team engaged community members in a series of public meetings, surveys, open houses, advisory committee meetings, and targeted focus groups, for a three-year total of over 1,500 points of engagement. The team then produced a report for each group, summarizing the engagement feedback and the final recommendations. These recommendations included physical improvements, like interior reconfiguring or exterior seating areas, but also ideas for improving services, as well as larger neighborhood connections which can better integrate each branch into its surroundings. We summarized this overall branch experience into four distinct, nested levels: library building; library grounds; neighborhood; and library services.

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The final reports, from all three years, are on our CPL150.org site, available for perusal or download:

Group 1 (2015): Fleet, South, Sterling, and Woodland branches (Purchase report on Amazon)

Group 2 (2016): Brooklyn, Mt Pleasant, and South Brooklyn branches (Purchase report on Amazon)

Group 3 (2017): Eastman, Hough, Union, Walz, and West Park branches (Purchase report on Amazon)

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In addition, we’ve assembled a Summary Report which outlines some of the major themes we heard across most or all branches studied (Purchase Summary Report on Amazon). The design team found that far from becoming obsolete, our neighborhood libraries are more important than ever for the many ways they continue to serve their local population. Our library branches are information centers, community work spaces, workforce assistance centers, after-school gathering spots, and more.

Please visit cpl150.org for more information on our three-year collaboration with the Cleveland Public Library!

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10-04-17

Kristen Zeiber Lecture | October 6

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Lecture: “Scaling Up: Design with People and Places
Kristen Zeiber
Friday, October 6th
12(noon) — 1pm
CUDC, 1309 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200
Free and open to the public

RSVPs encouraged on Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/573039656153285/

In her talk, Kristen will speak about navigating scales, from architecture to urban design to regional design, in her exploration of the connection between people and the places they live. Work presented ranges from small-scale design/build to watersheds, from the post-Katrina Gulf Coast to post-coal Pennsylvania. She argues that across all scales, designers should work for people, and with respect for their relationship to the landscapes where they have chosen to live—even if those places have environmental or economic risk.

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Kristen Zeiber is a Project Manager, Urban Designer, and Adjunct Faculty at Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC). She has been with the CUDC since 2013, and contributes to the organization’s neighborhood planning, research, mapping, and student advising. She also teaches the annual Midwest Urban Design Charrette for Masters students in Architecture and Urban Design in collaboration with several other universities. She is on the Board of Directors and co-chairs the Scholarship Committee for the Cleveland chapter of ACE Mentors, a nonprofit extracurricular program which introduces high school students to the Architecture, Construction, and Engineering professions.

Kristen’s previous Community Design Center and Design/Build experience includes over four years post-Katrina at Mississippi State University’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio in Biloxi, MS, with founder David Perkes; and short internships with the Center for Urban Pedagogy in New York and the Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont. She holds a MS in Architecture Studies (SMArchS-Urbanism) from MIT, and a Bachelor’s of Architecture from Penn State University.

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09-27-17

Greggor Mattson Lecture | September 29

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Lecture: “Who Needs Gay Bars? Why Planners Should Care And What You Can Do”
Greggor Mattson
Friday, September 22nd
12(noon) — 1pm
CUDC, 1309 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200
Free and open to the public

RSVPs encouraged on Facebook event page: www.facebook.com/events/118361948853908/

The high profile closures of gay bars over the last five years have brought to public attention what the gay press has worried about for years: the geographical focus of LGBTQ life is changing. Popular and scholarly attention have blamed our “untethered,” “ambient,” “post-Gay” landscape on two factors: geolocating smartphone apps such as Grindr or Tindr, and the growing social acceptance of LGBTQ people. This talk challenges these assumptions for all but the most metropolitan gay cities. Almost everything we know about LGBTQ placemaking in the U.S. comes from four major cities with iconic gay neighborhoods, global financial institutions, international tourist draws—and only 15% of the U.S. population.

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This talk examines the gay bar as an institution in its own right, focusing on the role it plays in secondary cities such as Cleveland, Fresno, or Oklahoma City, and outpost bars that are the only gay bar within an hour’s drive of another. In these small cities, often in red counties of red states, smartphone apps are of little use and social acceptance is more elusive. Data include 50 interviews with gay bar owners and managers, site visits to over 80 gay bars in 27 states, a new national dataset of gay bar listings from 1977-2017, and a longitudinal study of San Francisco’s three gay bar districts. Mattson shows that bars in general have been squeezed in recent years, and that gentrification, changing leisure patterns, and corporate chain competition are more relevant to the challenges facing gay bars than narratives of technological or social progress. Mattson reports on several ways that urban planners, municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Convention Bureaus could support gay bars, and argue why they should start doing so. And he argues that we need to abandon planning stereotypes of LGBTQ people as the shock troops of gentrification or canaries of the knowledge economy, and start treating regional gay bars as social institutions in their own right.

Greggor Mattson is Associate Professor of Sociology at Oberlin College and the Director of the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. With degrees in sociology from Oxford University and the University of California, Berkeley, his research lies at the intersections of the sociology of sexuality, culture, and urban studies. The author of The Cultural Politics of European Prostitution Reform: Governing Loose Women and Before It Was Hingetown, listed among the best writing from and about Northeast Ohio from 2016 by the Cleveland Scene. He is currently working on a book about changes in American gay bars over the last twenty years. He blogs at greggormattson.com and @GreggorMattson on Twitter.

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09-22-17

Publication Release: NEW LIFE FOR OLD HOMES

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We’re happy to announce the publication of New Life for Old Homes: Design Guide for the Low-Cost Rehab of Vacant & Affordable Housing!

New Life for Old Homes is a user-friendly guidebook of low-cost, high-impact ideas for the rehabilitation of vacant and abandoned houses that would otherwise be demolished. The project was conceived in tandem with our Design/REbuild initiative, a vacant brick home in the St Clair-Superior neighborhood that was rehabbed by students from KSU’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design (and lots of community volunteers). While Design/REbuild could only address one house at a time, New Life for Old Homes captures the larger design ideas around refreshing Cleveland’s vacant houses to make them vibrant again.

Cleveland’s historic neighborhood fabric is threatened by the 1,000+ demolitions that take place every year. These houses form the basis of our traditional city neighborhoods and, while they may not have dramatic architectural or historic significance, they contribute to the familiar scale and character of Ohio’s cities. The goal of New Life for Old Homes is to repair, rather than demolish, and to rediscover the unique appeal that older houses have to offer. We hope the guide inspires Clevelanders to look again at our sturdy homes that are too good to throw away.

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New Life for Old Homes was generously sponsored by the Ohio History Fund, which supports innovative historic preservation projects across the state. We’re deeply grateful for the support of the OHF in creating this publication.

Please feel free to browse the publication below, and if you’d like to purchase a print-on-demand copy for yourself, you can find our Amazon link here. We also have copies of the printed book available for free at CUDC. If you’d like to pick up a copy, just stop by the CUDC office between 9am – 5pm and ask for the New Life for Old Homes book.

 

09-20-17

Ben Herring Lecture | September 22

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Lecture: “Source Material: Identities in Architecture”
Ben Herring
Friday, September 22nd
12(noon) – 1pm
CUDC, 1309 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200
Free and open to the public

RSVP on the Facebook event page.

Join us at the CUDC this Friday, September 22nd for a talk by Ben Herring, project manager at redhouse studio architecture. His interactive presentation will explore meaning through materiality in architecture. The applications of architectures are no longer simple, nor simply for providing shelter. The uses of architecture include identities as concrete as defining the face of business (Facebook Headquarters, Gehry Partners), as personal as defining home (Incremental Housing Complex Quinta Monroy, Elemental), and as controversial as redefining our memory (Vietnam Memorial, Maya Lin). These projects are young. However, architecture is prehistoric. In turn, many well established views on the state of the art of architecture have been declared and deconstructed throughout architectural history.

The aim of this presentation will be to review an abbreviated collection of these influences on architectural history. This survey of trademark architectural definitions, agendas, and identities will then be used to provide a groundwork for discourse on how we approach architecture today.

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Clifford Benjamin Herring is a designer specializing in new materials and architectures for public good. Ben was administered various honors at Ball State University where he received degrees in Architecture and Economics. He has previously served as a board member for PBS and NPR member stations in Southern Indiana and is currently seated as the executive board treasurer for the Refresh Collective (the organization responsible for the Fresh Camp). Ben is a project manager at redhouse studio architecture where his work includes new material developments and various non-for-profit and commercial architectures. As a workshop director for the CUDC’s Making Our Own Space (MOOS) program, Ben works with youth throughout Cleveland, Ohio to influence their neighborhoods through design and construction.

Let us know you’re coming. RSVP on the Facebook event page and please spread the word!

View the CUDC’s full 2017 Fall Lecture Series.

 

09-11-17

Jacinda Walker Lecture | September 15

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Lecture: “Design Journeys: Strategies for Increasing Diversity in Design Disciplines”
Jacinda Walker
Friday, September 15th
12(noon)-1pm
CUDC, 1309 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200
Free and open to the public

Join us at the CUDC this Friday at lunch for a talk by Jacinda Walker, the second event in our 2017 Fall Lecture Series. Jacinda Walker will discuss the objectives of her research work, “Design Journeys: Strategies for Increasing Diversity in Design Disciplines.” This solutions-based thesis presents fifteen strategic ideas to expose African-American and Latino youth to design-related careers. The interactive talk will reveal her research approach, illustrate the problems, share the design principles needed to close the diversity gap, and include the first groundbreaking updates on the Design Diversity Index project. Attendees will leave with a clear definition of this complex problem and a deeper appreciation of what is required from educators, parents, organizations, and designers of all disciplines to diversify our profession.

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The Design Journey Map, created by Jacinda Walker, is a tool to guide progress towards increasing diversity in the design fields.

Jacinda Walker is the founder of designExplorr, an organization that celebrates design learning by creating opportunities that expose African American and Latino youth to design. She also serves as Chair of AIGA’s Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. Walker has over 20 years of industry experience as a designer, entrepreneur, and instructor. Jacinda earned her BFA in graphic design from the University of Akron and an MFA in Design Research & Development with a minor in Nonprofit Studies from The Ohio State University. Her future goals include working with organizations to establish design education initiatives and to develop design programs for underrepresented youth.

For more information about the upcoming talk, please contact the CUDC at (216) 357-3434 or cudc[at]kent.edu

 

09-08-17

Watermark Project Summer Finale

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The CUDC, with partners Neighborhood Progress, artist Mimi Kato, and archaeologist Dr. Roy Larik, recently held their summer finale of events surrounding the Watermark project. The project seeks to evoke the memory of the Giddings Brook, a waterway buried and culverted in the early 20th century. Dee Jay Doc and Fresh Camp provided hip-hop entertainment, improvising lyrics about the history of the Giddings Brook, problems concerning lead in their neighborhoods, and other stories. Food, a rain barrel give-away, and an installation of the Watermark beach and pool also brought people out to the site.

 

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Giddings Brook is one of several waterways buried as the city developed in the early 20th century. The Brook holds history as a recreation, entertainment, and restorative place of gathering. Luna Park, a theme park, a Fresh Air Camp, and multiple healthcare facilities were located along the path of Giddings Brook before its ultimate burial. Watermark seeks to ask how else we might consider the use of existing waterways today, as well as those now buried in so many neighborhoods throughout the city.

 

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Watermark is made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

05-22-17

Bygone Landscapes of Cleveland and New Orleans: the conduit of the everyday

MH headshotMaggie Hansen, Director, Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design, Tulane University

This spring our Masters of Landscape Architecture students engaged in a studio with Maggie Hansen of Tulane UniversityMaggie worked with students at the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative on a 5-week vertical studio titled “Bygone Landscapes of Cleveland and New Orleans: the conduit of the everyday”. This was a continuation of the Master of Landscape Architecture Traveling Workshop that took place in New Orleans over spring break.

This collaborative studio kicked off with the KSU students visiting New Orleans. Over 3 days, they visited sites designed to support both hydrological function and community gathering. In addition to site visits, they discussed design and policy approaches to urban hydrology with designers, policymakers, and planners, including Aron Chang of Blue House, Colleen McHugh of the City of New Orleans Office of Resilience, and Austin Allen and Diane Jones of Design Jones. The exchange between Tulane’s Small Center for Collaborative Design and the Kent State Landscape program revealed many shared challenges for Cleveland and New Orleans.

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The studio has been developed in conversation with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s Project Clean Lake Program. In 2011, NEORD entered into a consent decree to address water quality issues in Lake Erie by capturing 98% of CSO – the highest level of capture nationally. This capture is primarily achieved through the construction of 7 deep storage tunnels, ranging from two to five miles long, up to 24 feet in diameter and located up to 300 feet underground – the tunnels hold water in a rain event and release it for treatment. As NEORSD has constructed these tunnels, they’ve acquired a series of parcels where tunnel access and construction staging has occurred. These sites will continue to be used for maintenance of the tunnels and the District recognizes the opportunity for the sites to serve as neighborhood amenities following construction. The studio is looking at the potential of these parcels to engage the layers of hydrology and neighborhood fabric more fully, in hopes to expand the range of possibilities for NEORD as the work continues. The students began the studio with visits to 3 sites in the Dugway watershed, and a tour of ‘restored’ sites with NEORSD, to see the sites under construction and some of the completed ‘parklets’ following construction. From these observations and an analysis of the site layers, the students developed ‘deep section’ models of the sites, as a means of understanding the complex, layered systems impacting each site, and as a starting point for design.

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The studio will deliver a booklet of conceptual ideas to the District following the 5-week studio. We will publish the booklet on our Issuu site when completed.

04-25-17

The Student Perspective : CUBA

This year’s Spring Studio, The International Design Exchange (INDEX) Studio is a graduate design studio established to build an understanding of global urban issues.The studio explores strategies for urban regeneration revealed through a comparative analysis of Cleveland, Ohio and Havana, Cuba. The studio functions as a timely conduit for the exchange of ideas between the two cities. As part of the studio, four graduate students traveled to Cuba, during spring break, to strengthen the research and relationships established with architects and architecture students and the University of Havana. Two of the students, Reuben Shaw II and Randy Hoover, shared their experience and work with us. Here is their perspective:

Reuben Shaw II, Master of Landscape Architecture

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Cuba was never on my list of countries to visit. Stories about the taboos of the society and the government subconsciously blocked this island nation from my view. I’ve visited a few of the Caribbean Islands but still, Cuba was invisible. During my stay in Havana, I realized that Cuba was one of the most unique and beautiful places I have ever been, not only aesthetically, but culturally and socially. The proverb, “Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times” became a reality.

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Fanguito neighborhood in Havana, Cuba

While working on the Havana studio project in Cleveland, it was a challenge to really grasp our site with aerials; as landscape architecture students, most of our taught site-analysis techniques were void. Flying to Cuba and walking the streets of the Fanguito neighborhood really gave us a perspective that added to our repertoire. We discovered a sense of place that was generated by the people and an empirical expression of culture that you could only get by asking questions and adopting the lifestyle of the residents.

This opportunity to travel to Cuba was truly inspiring and has fueled my desire to travel and experience other cultures. I believe when you travel you learn as much about yourself as you do about the place. Knowledge of self not only enriches your being but that of the people around you.

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Proposed wetland preserve and aquatic bird habitat along the Almendares River in Havana, Cuba

Randy Hoover, Master of Architecture

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Five days is a short time in which one can be expected to engage with the unique cultural and economic values in a city like Havana, but I believe this trip was successful in that regard. Stepping out onto Cuban soil was not, as some of my friends back home predicted, like stepping back in time to a land where technology and science ceased to progress. Once you look past the aesthetic value of colorful old cars on the road you begin to see Cuba’s development over the last decades as an alternate timeline, similar to our own, where resources are more scarce but vitality and variety of life are never sacrificed.

(Now don’t get me wrong, riding from one side of Havana to the other in a candy-coated Pontiac is something that should be experienced by every visitor to the island.)

Our studio design/research project for the semester focused on an intervention near the Almendares River in El Vedado district of Havana. This land is known as the less affluent part of town and in every way but its social structure can be considered a slum. In order to operate from thousands of miles away with little on-site experience, our group focused on projective interventions that could be built by accretion and overlay of infrastructural services. By developing a simple self-built housing prototype that connected its infrastructure to a central square, we could game out the look of our neighborhood intervention in abstraction without bulldozing over the existing social and economic complexities of the neighborhood.

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Cuadriculita 008: The central concrete pad provides infrastructural connections for surrounding residents.

The realistic conditions of a site are, of course, more complex than what can be assumed from a satellite image or journal article. When we walked through the neighborhood of El Fanguito we were greeted by complete strangers with smiles and welcome conversation with our inquiring minds. Narrow alleyways and informal sidewalks contributed to a set of streetscapes that functioned almost identically to the winding paths we suggested in the Cuadriculita proposal, except of course that it was constructed with more care, personality, and efficiency. Once we walked out of the neighborhood and up the hill to a grand vista that overlooked all of the informal housing, my perspective of the project completely shifted.

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A small cluster of housing built against the peculiar topography separating El Fanguito from El Vedado.

I expected this moment, of course, but maybe not in such an instantaneous fashion. The infrastructural connections were not perfect in every way but formed its own artistry out of the imperfections. Overlap of aesthetics and use-value with the homes were most apparent with bright blue water storage barrels and pigeon cages on some of the rooftops feeding PVC piping down into the invisible pathways and living spaces below. Our project’s assertion that an interior courtyard or open space was required in order to have a vibrant and connected lifestyle for each resident was dissolved after seeing this.

This INDEX studio travel opportunity is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. I was able to meet Cuban architectural contemporaries, sample the passionate lifestyle of residents, and bond with my trip-mates in sharing this experience of infinite value. I’d like to thank David Jurca, the CUDC, and Kent State University for this amazing opportunity.

The INDEX: CLExHAV Studio is part of the 2017 Creative Fusion program supported by The Cleveland Foundation. During the 2017 Spring Semester, the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) will continue a partnership launched by Kent State University last year with Havana-based architects Sofía Márquez Aguiar and Ernesto Jiménez of Fábrica De Arte Cubano (Cuban Art Factory), a vibrant community arts space housed in a repurposed cooking oil plant in Havana. The architects will work with the KSU Urban Design and Landscape Architecture graduate studio and a Cleveland Institute of Art Interior Architecture studio on design proposals for two neighborhood projects: one in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood, where Fábrica De Arte Cubano is located, and another in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood. In early April, Márquez Aguiar and Jiménez arrived in Cleveland to review the students’ design proposals for Vedado and will remain in Cleveland for one month as they work with students to generate and fabricate the project to be built in Glenville. A public Pop Up Event is scheduled at the Glenville site (1470 E. 105th, Cleveland) on Friday, May 5th from 6-9pm. All are welcome. Learn more and RSVP on the Facebook event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/532579883796334/ 

12-08-16

Advocating for Diversity: A Conversation with Michelle Barrett of NOMAS

michele crawford cropMichele Crawford presents her architectural research at the 2014 Design Diversity Powered by PechaKucha event in Cleveland, Ohio

Michele Crawford from Architecture firm Robert P. Madison International speaks with Michelle Barrett, the new president of the National Organization of Minority Architects Student Chapter (NOMAS) at Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design

by Michele Crawford

My inspiration to become an architect emerged from my educational journey. I did not have many architectural influences prior to my start on the path to architecture. My career goal was to become a car designer. I translated this ambition to the creation of interior environments and ultimately completed both a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Architecture and Master of Architecture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The study of architecture in Chicago proved to be an amazing experience. My studio space was on the top floor of The Sullivan Center, formerly the Carson Pirie Scott Building, and I could easily visit historical examples of designs from Frank Lloyd Wright, Renzo Piano, Mies Van Der Rohe, Stanley Tigerman, and others. Using the city as my classroom provided enduring inspiration.

I noticed, however, the lack of admiration of both women and architects of color in the Chicago scene and worldwide. When my professors suggested architects to use as inspiration, they were rarely African American, and never African American women. It was through my own investigations that I found images of architects similar to myself and my culture. Gradually, Paul Revere Williams became my Mies. Norma Merrick Sklarek became my F.L. Wright. Dina Griffith became my Renzo. Sharon Sutton could eloquently express my angst—preparing me for the suppression of the African American voice and visibility in the profession.

In my current position as Project Designer at Robert P. Madison International, I am surrounded by a rich history of architectural contributions from an African American owned firm, currently led by Sandra Madison. I make special attempts to show my face to those who are considering pursuing a design career, and try to persuade those with interest.

Currently, the United States has under 400 licensed African American women architects, making up just under .4% of the greater architect population. We have a desperate need for more representation. The diversity rates nationally in architecture are not keeping up with the changing communities that the profession is called upon to serve. African Americans comprise 13.9% of Ohio’s population. Strikingly, Ohio has 2,650 licensed architects, but only 63 are African American—that’s only 2% of the profession. This disparity has been evident since the inception of the profession. In 2015, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) initiated a deeper conversation about this matter. The AIA surveyed its members and supporters about the perception of diversity and also examined the relationship of diversity to success in the field. Its closing analysis suggested changes in hopes of creating greater equality and more balanced numbers. Communities and demographics are steadily changing, yet, the demographics of the designers of these same spaces are not keeping pace.

As the new president of the National Organization of Minority Architects Student Chapter (NOMAS) at Kent State University, Michelle Barrett is working towards creating and sustaining a space of support for students of color in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED). We recently discussed her ambitions to move past potential and into action in the architecture world’s quickly approaching future. Though the Kent State diversity numbers in the architecture and design programs seem to align with the national averages, the opportunity for a NOMAS chapter to spark a change is hopeful. The current minority students, and specifically Michelle, seem to recognize the importance of support for students of color at Kent State and are working towards change.

Michelle and I had the following conversation about her experience leading the NOMAS Chapter and her plans for the future.

Design Awards Michele and MichelleLeft to Right: Terrance Pitts (Turner Construction), Michelle Barrett, Michele Crawford, Teresa Giralt (Turner Construction), Amir Allenbey at the AIA Cleveland Design Awards

 

Michelle Barrett
Hometown: Gaithersburg, MD
Class / Year: Class of 2017, 4th year
Major: Architecture

 

MC: How did you hear about Kent State?

MB: As many black youth, I thought my future was in sports. I played soccer all of my life up until I tore my ACL during my senior year. Kent State was on my list of schools (for soccer) because my coach had past connections. After it was clear that I wouldn’t be playing sports in college, I had to approach that list of schools differently. Which one would provide the best academic value? Kent State was the answer.

 

MC: What inspired you to pursue the architecture path?

MB: I have always been drawn to art and design. Probably because of my mother; she is a graphic designer. But I never really wanted to be an artist. I wanted to have an impact on people’s everyday lives, to help people. I didn’t know how or what career would allow me to do that. At an away soccer tournament in Miami, a player’s mother took us on a tour of Downtown Miami. She gave us a history lesson on all the Art Deco inspired architecture and the type of events that happened there. I fell in love. At that point I realized how I could be creative, yet impactful, in society.

 

MC: Why NOMAS? Why now? 

MB: I did not previously know about NOMA/NOMAS until CAED Associate Dean Bill Willoughby initiated discussions on the topic. He was and continues to be an integral part of NOMAS here at Kent. After the initial informational presentations he gave students, a group of us students took the lead in formalizing the organization. The other students involved included: Torri Appling, Shelton Finch, and Zai Abdi. I personally took ownership of the process because I thought it was important to have an organization devoted to minority issues (diversity, inclusion, fellowship, etc) in relation to architecture. It’s a unique niche that cannot be fully realized in groups such as Black United Students (BUS).

 

MC: Have you ever felt as if you were treated unfairly because of your gender or race?

MB: On many occasions, people are surprised to hear about my academic achievements—be it my choice of major or my honors standing. After many years, their surprise no longer catches me off guard. However, I still feel an injustice when said individuals expect you to be 10x better than your peers. They hold you to different standards and it is unfair.

 

MC: What has been you favorite studio project?

MB: My favorite studio project was in Third Year Studio—The Media Center Library—a part of the Cleveland International School masterplan. It was the first time we interacted with real clients—the community, the students.

 

MC: As president what are the main goals that you have for the organization?

MB: My main goals for the organization include career development (educational and professional), community engagement in the Greater Cleveland area, and to ensure that the NOMAS voice continues to be heard as a legacy organization in the future CAED community.

 

***

Historically, the voice of the African American architect has been suppressed. However, as our world continues to change, the profession seems to be committed to making the field a more inclusive and welcoming place for all. Organizations like Design Diversity are working to push accountability in this matter. Design Diversity, an advisory committee which grew out of Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC), is committed to educating, connecting, and celebrating diversity in the design professions. Specifically focusing on African American and Latino communities, this group has specific goals of awareness to the larger design community with hopes of encouraging authentic, diverse views and considerations within and throughout the design process. Ultimately, Design Diversity and NOMA/NOMAS are promoting the importance of varied voices in educational and professional design communities.

 

Michele Crawford, Assoc. AIA, is a Project Designer at Robert P. Madison International, based in Cleveland, Ohio. Michele serves on a number of service organizations, including the Design Diversity Advisory Committee. In 2016, Michele was recognized with the Activism Award by AIA Cleveland. Follow Michele on Twitter @initiat_ed.

 

 

References:

NCARB By the Numbers 2015
http://www.ncarb.org/About-NCARB/NCARB-by-the-Numbers/~/media/Files/PDF/Special-Paper/2015NCARBbytheNumbers.ashx

African American Architects Directory
http://blackarch.uc.edu/

Diversity in the Profession of Architecture
http://www.aia.org/aiaucmp/groups/aia/documents/pdf/aiab108092.pdf

African Americans in Ohio
https://development.ohio.gov/files/research/P7003.pdf

 

10-11-16

Making Our Own Stories Podcast Launched!

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Making Our Own Stories, a youth podcast about placemaking, launched its first four episodes. The podcast will reveal the stories behind the projects built in the Buckeye neighborhood through the Making Our Own Space workshops. The podcast puts the mic in the hands of youth, training them to craft and tell stories they find interesting—in their own voice.

MOOStories is led by a team of partners including Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC), designer Ellen Sullivan, Kent State University Master of Landscape Architecture student Jessie Hawkins, community leader and independent radio broadcaster D’Angelo Knuckles, and Sidewalk founder and urban planner Justin Glanville.

Students learned how to use recording equipment so they could interview people on the street, design professionals, grant funders, police officers, and each other. The podcast gives youth the opportunity to ask adults why the neighborhood looks the way it does. Then take actions to make it better.

You can listen to the first four episodes on the MOOS website or on iTunes. We will be posting another episode each week for the next two months. If you enjoy the stories, please share the podcast link on social media and ask your friends to check it out, too. On iTunes, you can rate the podcast (5 stars please!) and leave a comment. The ratings and comments are really important ways to increase the podcast’s reach. We hope MOOStories will help people in Cleveland and across the country get a better understanding of the Buckeye community and how youth can play a larger role in shaping their own neighborhoods.

Want to listen live? There will be a live stream of the podcast at Sidewalks of Buckeye, Thursday, October 13th, from 6-8 PM. The event is sponsored by the Buckeye Shaker Square Development Corporation in partnership with ioby. It will be a night of readings, musical performances, poetry, meditation and more!  There will be  hot dogs and freshly pressed juice. The event will take place at Art and Soul Park, E 118th and Buckeye Rd. 

Making Our Own Stories is made possible through the generous support of the Cleveland Foundation’s Minority Arts & Education Fund.

09-26-16

Norman Krumholz | Sept 30

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This week we welcome Norman Krumholz to our Fall Lecture Series. His talk, “Cleveland Neighborhoods in Black and White” will explore equity planning, a theory of urban planning that Norman and his staff practiced with three Cleveland mayors (Stokes, Perk, and Kucinich) in the 1970s.  He will also talk about how an equity planner thinks about certain issues and the results of their work in Cleveland.

Norman Krumholz is a Professor in the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University who earned his planning degree at Cornell. Prior to this, he served as a planning practitioner in Ithaca, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland. He served as Planning Director for the City of Cleveland from 1969-1979 under Mayors Carl B. Stokes, Ralph J. Perk, and Dennis Kucinich. 

Join us, Friday, September 30th, from 12 -1 PM. As always, this lecture is free and open to the public.

 

09-13-16

INDEX Studio: Cleveland x Havana Report

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The INDEX studio examined the relationships between two cities–Cleveland, Ohio and Havana, Cuba. The 15-week studio took place in the spring of 2016 at Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC). 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.

09-08-16

Students Study Housing Alternatives for Cleveland

This summer’s graduate studio at the CUDC focused on issues of housing in the city of Cleveland. Eleven graduate students in architecture and urban design selected sites across the city to develop a strategy for housing various ages, incomes, and forms of collective living. Titled “Home Economics: The State of Housing in Cleveland,” the studio used interdisciplinary methods for making site determinations and strategies—combining urban planning, community development, and design thinking to aspects of their project. Students studied the recent Vacant Property survey released by the CUDC with Thriving Communities Institute and other studies to suggest alternative forms of development in neighborhoods across the city. Strategies ranged from urban systems questions relating to lead contamination in housing, to dispersed housing strategies that attempt to introduce affordability as a stabilizing factor both in gentrifying neighborhoods and in under-invested neighborhoods.

The studio marks the culmination for Master’s of Architecture students at the CUDC, while students in the Urban Design program will continue into capstone research.

Below are examples of some of the student’s work featured in the report.

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images for blog post-2Student Caitlyn Scoville’s project examined methods for remediation, demolition, and development in neighborhoods with high lead concentrations.

images for blog post-3Student Lizz Weiss’ “Aff the Grid” project introduces new models of affordable housing and collective living.  

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images for blog post-6Student Elizabeth Ellis’ project provides housing options for immigrant populations that allow inhabitants to determine the degree of assimilation they wish to undertake in the community.