Alena Miller and James Lennon Receive AIA Student Awards


Each year, AIA Cleveland recognizes excellence in design by inviting local firms and students to submit their best work to be reviewed by nationally renowned juries from all over the country. This year we are excited to announce that two CUDC graduate students received awards. Alena Miller received the Merit Award and James Lennon the Honor Award. Both submitted work from their Graduate Design Studio, focused on Cleveland’s Opportunity Corridor.

The studio explored new urban planning and design approaches for redeveloping the Corridor through adaptive reuse of vacant land. Led by co-instructors David Jurca, Jeff Kruth, and Pravin Bhiwapurkar, students developed alternative visions for the local neighborhood intended to establish connections with emerging economic development in the region. Of particular interest was the potential for physical interventions to build social cohesion, ecological value, and cultural resources through short- and long-term actions.

We spoke with Alena and James about their studio experience and design process. First, Alena tells us about her experience and her project, Urban Seam.

“The summer studio was a unique graduate experience, because it required a concise analysis of the current proposal for Opportunity Corridor. My design process began by identifying strengths within the Kinsman neighborhood that may be viewed as constraints and acknowledging that the existing urban fabric was not useless, but compromised. From this point, I developed a “sewing kit” of urban design strategies that identified formal and informal design solutions that were culturally appropriate for the existing population. These “patches and stitches” create multiple scenarios for future development in the neighborhood. Further expansion of the “residential patch and stitch” included a typology study and the design of alternative housing units that better served the existing population’s needs. The housing typologies met the required density for transit-oriented development while offering social and recreational amenities to the residents. Overall, the design of Urban Seam focused on the positive impact of the Opportunity Corridor on an existing population by creating design strategies that were culturally appropriate, transitional, and a catalyst for future development.” – Alena Miller

2Urban Seam, Alena Miller

9Urban Seam, Alena Miller

If you would like to see more of Alena’s award winning project, you can view it here.

James also shared his overall impressions of the studio and the design process for his project, Reintegration.

“As far as the Studio experience goes, it was a great learning experience. In general, I believe that the project itself was an excellent opportunity to share insights and generate excitement for possible design solutions in a real world scenario. Being from another city, it was great to see how open-minded Clevelanders are to improving the city with new ideas. The support and feedback we received from a number of city officials and project stakeholders allowed us to better understand problems relative to the site. We were offered an inside look at how these projects may develop.

I also benefited from having three studio co-instructors. They each provided expertise from different perspectives, forcing us to use critical thinking in making our own decisions for the project. All nine students collaborated well together throughout the semester and served as a great support system. The design language and principles learned in this Urban Design Studio reinforced and improved my understanding of Architecture and its related fields.

Reintegration_Reintegration, James Lennon

The design process for my work involved identifying key social, economic, and environmental problems that exist within the site. The solution was to leverage existing anchors and amenities in order to provide a cohesive site that encouraged user interaction through transitional “social condenser” spaces. Interaction with diverse community members will serve as a support system for people who have been recently released from incarceration. My project’s ultimate goal is to reduce recidivism. The design itself was a response to current conditions while also acknowledging the history of the site through various urban design interventions. The programming is organized to connect people with landscape, architecture, and each other.” – James Lennon

Reintegration_13Reintegration, James Lennon

If you would like to see more of James award winning project, you can view it here.

Alena and James both set high personal goals that extended beyond the studio requirements. It is evident by their achievements that their hard work and dedication has paid off. We can’t wait to see what they will accomplish in the future!




Havana: the future never happened by itself…



On October 7th, the CUDC hosted a lecture by the influential Cuban architect and urban planner, Miguel Coyula. Professor Coyula is on the faculty at the University of Havana. In his lecture at the CUDC, he talked about Havana–past, present, and future. He organized his remarks around a central idea:

The future never happened by itself. It was created.

As many have observed, Havana is a city that feels fixed in time. Yet everything is on the verge of change. Buildings, infrastructure, and public spaces throughout the city are crumbling due to the decades-long embargo, widespread poverty, and a complex political system that allocates resources inefficiently. As foreign capital flows into Cuba at an accelerating rate, local entrepreneurs and outside investors are beginning to transform the city. The long term cultural effects and the physical form of the city in the future are as yet unknown. And Havana’s future is yet to be created.



Professor Coyula is both optimistic and concerned about the future of Havana. He sees opportunities to learn from other cities; that every city can show you something, good or bad. But despite the outside pressures and international influences that will inevitably be part of Havana’s regeneration, his advice to architects and planners in Cuba is to:

Think Cuban. Be Cuban. Don’t imitate.

In the US, we’re on the outside looking in. But that too is about to change. Havana poses many complex questions…about architecture, real estate development, historic preservation, and infrastructure networks. We have a remarkable opportunity to both support reconstruction efforts in Havana with new technologies and design expertise, and simultaneously learn from the resourcefulness and tenacity of the many Cubans who’ve held their city together under difficult circumstances for the past six decades.

Havana remains a vibrant place, though the scale of disinvestment feels overwhelming at times. But there’s good reason for optimism and the US and Cuba gradually rediscover each other.

The Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design and the CUDC are exploring opportunities to engage our students, faculty, and research staff in Cuban design issues. In March of 2015, CAED Dean Doug Steidl and CUDC Director Terry Schwarz traveled to Havana with Jorge Delgado and James Thompson of the Joaquin Weiss Institute. The purpose of this trip was to observe the physical environment of the city and provide initial reactions about how future development might evolve. We also used the trip to explore ideas for future academic programs. Our findings are summarized in a report: CUBA_observations.

The CUDC is grateful to Kent State University President Lester Lefton who provided support for Miguel Coyula’s visit to Cleveland, and also to KSU Professor Anne Morrison who organized the event. Anne is organizing a study trip to Cuba from December 31, 2015 – January 8, 2016. If you’d like to see Cuba for yourself, contact Anne at amorriso[at]kent.edu for more information.


Miguel Coyula Lecture | October 7th

miguel coyula_2

Miguel Coyula is an architect, urban planner, and professor at the University of Havana. He will give a comprehensive overview of Havana from its origins to the present, ending with an open question shared by many people these day: What kind of city will Havana be in the coming years?

The event will be held at:

Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
Kent State University
Euclid Avenue, Suite 200
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
Directions to the CUDC

Following Professor Coyula’s talk, there will be a light dinner catered by Earth Bistro Café featuring contemporary American cuisine with a Cuban flair. This event is free and made possible by KSU President Emeritus Lester Lefton, but REGISTRATION is required.

For any inquiries regarding the event, please contact the CUDC.



The CUDC says Goodbye to our Post Graduate Fellow, Matt Provolt


Our Post Graduate Fellow, Matt Provolt, will be leaving the CUDC after his 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. Matt shared with us some of his thoughts about his time here at the CUDC and what he was able to accomplish. We wish him well in his next adventure!

What did this year-long Fellowship mean to you?
Initially, when I accepted the post-graduate fellow position, I was excited to return to the CUDC because I was remembering the time I had here in the past. I was a CUDC intern during my time in graduate school, and that experience opened my mind to so many different ways of looking at the city; gave me the opportunity to forge lasting friendships with my fellow students and staff; and connected me with people who have significantly influenced and shaped my life and professional trajectory in the time since. Coming back here for this fellowship, then, meant working with my former colleagues again and getting involved with more of the interesting projects I so enjoyed during my internship. Over the course of the year, though, this position has turned into something much more than that. It has been an amazing learning experience which has helped me mature as a person and as an urban designer. I have been able to have my hand in many thrilling and meaningful projects, and this has given me the foundation I need to take a strong step forward in my career. I am very grateful to have had this wonderful opportunity.

What were some of the highlights of the Fellowship?
One of the most enjoyable things for me was my involvement with the Elyria TLCI, a project which I saw from start to finish. It gave me the opportunity to explore and get to know an entirely new place; one with a fascinating history, beautiful building stock, and a distinct set of exciting challenges. I also got to work closely with the city’s Mayor, so that was an exciting experience as well. Additionally, I got to pick up the reins from a former fellow on a project that sought to improve the grounds of a men’s homeless shelter and create for them a recreation + garden space. That project was my first experience in being able to design and physically build (with the help of my colleagues) an outdoor garden space that then was used by the men staying at the shelter. That one was pretty rewarding, and it’s still continuing on and growing to this day! And of course, toward the end of my year, I got to utilize my interest in pedestrian-friendly street design. I did this in conjunction with a climate change mitigation project, wherein I created a set of user-friendly illustrations that show how various types of streets should be designed to mitigate the negative effects that extreme climate days have on people; namely pedestrians. For that I drew from personal research and my own daily experiences within the pedestrian environment in Cleveland.

What will you miss most about working at the CUDC?
It’s truly difficult to decide whether it is the people or the projects I will miss most, so I suppose it’s a combination of both. The project work here has been really exhilarating, and the wide range of its scope and the impact it has on our region is truly remarkable. It is why I loved my internship and is what has inspired me most during this fellowship year. What additionally makes the project work so enjoyable, however, is my colleagues with whom I am able to share ideas, ask questions, and just goof around on a regular basis. They have definitely added another level of fun into the mix, and I’ve had countless great conversations with everyone here. I’m certainly going to miss this group of people.

What’s next for you upon the conclusion of the Fellowship?
This fellowship has greatly strengthened my desire to build a career in which I can design at a large scale and affect meaningful change in our cities. To continue pursuing that goal, I have recently accepted a position as an urban designer + planner at a local community development corporation. This new position will allow me to continue growing as a designer, to further develop my skills in planning and community engagement, and to affect some of the meaningful change which motivates me to be a better urban designer. I’m very excited for this new challenge!



Spring Lecture Series | Jack Bialosky Jr.

Jack Bialosky


Jack Bialosky Jr | Senior Principal and Managing Partner, Bialosky + Partners Architects
Friday, April 10th
CUDC Conference Room, 1309 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200
Event is free and all are welcome!

Staying Out of the Niche: How to keep your firm fresh and relevant in an ever-changing world

The talk will explore the diversity and evolution of the work and culture of Bialosky + Partners Architects. A talk in three parts; first Jack will take a brief walk through the progression of major projects in the firm’s 60 year history. Each design represents a milestone in the firm’s history and contains key advancements and knowledge that builds and informs the next work. This also provides a window into the progressing culture of the firm. Second, Jack will discuss how to build a great firm culture and what talents, skills, and qualities the firm looks for in its staff. The talk will conclude with a quick presentation of current work and a picture of where the firm is headed over the next 10 years.

Learning objectives include the following:

1. Why diversity of project types and scale are more fun
2. Winning new project types through collaboration
3. Applying design knowledge across various project types
4. How to build a great firm culture
5. What it takes to secure and advance in a position at a great firm


Jack A. Bialosky, Jr., AIA, LEED AP, leads one of the Midwest’s most successful and collaborative architecture firms, Bialosky + Partners Architects.

Jack A. Bialosky, Jr., the son of a prominent Cleveland architect, assumed leadership of a firm widely known for its modern residential and religious projects. After working at Kallman McKinnell & Wood Architects in Boston, Jack returned to Cleveland to initiate 20+ years of stewardship and transformation of his father’s small local firm, Bialosky + Partners Architects. The firm is known for the quality of its designs, the trust of their clients, the longevity of its staff, and the diversity of its portfolio.

In addition to design awards, the firm garnered the 2013 Northcoast 99 Award that recognizes the highest ranked workplaces in Northeast Ohio across all sectors.  In 2009, the firm was recognized by the American Institute of Architects as an AIA Ohio Gold Medal Firm, the highest honor awarded by its peers, in recognition of great depth and breadth, a collaborative environment, and having a cumulative effect on the profession over a substantial period of time. Jack’s initiative to seek out other collaborative designers and artists has resulted in ongoing partnerships with designers such as Maya Lin, David Moss, and Architecture Research Office.

For more information, please contact the CUDC at cudc@kent.edu or call (216) 357-3434.


We’re Hiring! Part-Time, Admin Position

we-re hiring_2015_560px


Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) is hiring a part-time Business Manager position for our downtown Cleveland office. The job responsibilities include administrative and clerical assistance for the CUDC’s professional practice and academic programs.


Administrative Clerk | Part-time position, Monday- Friday 8:30 am – 12:30 pm


  1. Visit Kent State’s Career Postings Sitehttps://jobs.kent.edu/applicants/jsp/shared/frameset/Frameset.jsp?time=1427740048253
  2. Enter Position Number: 998191
  3. Click “SEARCH”
  4. Click “View” under Administrative Clerk
  6. In addition to applying online through Kent State’s Career Posting Site; please email resume to Terry Schwarz at tschwarz@kent.edu


  • Provides part-time administrative, budget, and clerical assistance to the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative unit in downtown Cleveland. This position is housed in the downtown Cleveland office.
  • Coordinates and monitors CUDC budget and expense accounts.
  • Coordinates workflow and schedule to ensure deadlines are met, priorities are recognized, and policies/procedures are followed.
  • Assists with occasional office functions to include set up and clean up.
  • Schedules university facilities for academic and nonacademic events (e.g., meetings, dinners, parties, etc.); reserves locations, dates and times; assists clients with the planning of events (e.g., the types of tables); completes necessary forms; enforces university and scheduling procedures.
  • Answers, screens, and routes incoming telephone calls from multiple lines, takes messages, may send messages through electronic mail, places and logs long distance calls.
  • Greets and screens students, faculty, professional staff, administrators, and visitors, directs to appropriate location or person; may distribute, explain, and/or collect forms, pamphlets, or other informational documents.
  • Provides general and specialized information to students, faculty, professional staff, administrators, visitors, or callers regarding policy and procedures of University or department, campus locations, University events, class times and cancellations, telephone numbers, etc.; refers questions requiring more knowledge or data to appropriate person.
  • Sorts and distributes incoming mail for department; prepares bulk mailings.
  • May type basic items such as memos, schedules, telephone listings, envelopes, labels, data cards and occasional letters or reports from draft using typewriter or word processor. May perform other clerical duties such as filing, producing photocopies, sending and receiving facsimiles, and arranging for repairs.
  • Maintains various logs (e.g., parcels, visitors, keys, etc.), calendar of events, and/or appointment book.
  • Must pass a security check.


The Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) is a community design and research division of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) at Kent State University. Based in downtown Cleveland, the CUDC provides technical design assistance to communities throughout the northeast Ohio region, conducts research into urgent and emerging areas of design practice, and offers a variety of public education, and design advocacy programs.



The CUDC Celebrates 15 Years!


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


James Thompson Lunch Lecture | Jan 31

Garfield Scholars group led by James Thompson (lower right) in front of a fountain at the Plaza de San Francisco in Old Havana, Cuba. Photo credit: Hiram College

Join us January 31st at the CUDC for a Friday Lunch Lecture by James Thompson entitled, Designing the Future: Politics, Architecture, and the Cuban Aesthetic Question.

James Thompson is Associate Professor in Political Science at Hiram College. He received his Bachelor’s of Arts from Saint Mary’s College of California, and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame. Thompson specializes in International Relations and Political Theory.

The event is free and open to the public. RSVPs appreciated at: cudc@kent.edu

Friday, January 31st
12:15PM – 1:15PM
Kent State CUDC
1309 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200
(Playhouse Square, Downtown Cleveland)


Postcard Underground Sends Their Love To Pop Up Rockwell

Over the past week, we’ve received at least eight handwritten postcards thanking us for Pop Up Rockwell. When we received the first one, written on an art gallery postcard, we figured it was from someone interested in promoting an upcoming art opening and just happened to hear about our project. After three cards arrived the next day, written in different hands, it was clear something else was going on.

Well, after a little googling, it appears we’re the (very grateful:) recipients of some handwritten love from Postcard Underground. There isn’t much information on this secretive group available – all we could find are blog posts from a few other postcard beneficiaries, like this one from Minnesota Public Radio. It seems a national network of note writers is coordinating efforts to shower individuals and groups with encouraging messages for doing good work. A pretty simple, yet lovely, idea.

Reading the postcards, it feels good to see that each note is different and the writers are actually familiar with the project. One note read, “Wow! ‘Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.’ Win-win”, so we know he or she must have watched Rob (Homeland Security officer) enthusiastically mention this phrase on the Pop Up Rockwell video.

We feel very lucky to have experienced this “random (and simultaneously coordinated) act of kindness” and hope Postcard Underground continues to spread the love. But with so many deserving projects out there, it won’t be easy to avoid the hand-cramps.



Call for Submissions

The CUDC invites writers, designers, artists and thinkers to submit abstracts for Volume 5 of our annual publication, Urban Infill. Urban Infill examines themes in contemporary urban design, architecture, and planning. Past volumes have addressed shrinking cities, temporary urbanism, urban hydrology, and storytelling in an urban context. These can be previewed here:(http://www.cudc.kent.edu/publications/urban_infill/index.html)

Volume 5 will focus on diagrams. We invite examples and perspectives on diagramming and its place in urban design practice and processes. We are particularly interested in the intents and agendas behind various forms of diagramming within the following framework. Submissions may correspond to any of these six (6) themes:

(historical / theoretical evolution of diagramming, diagramming in design thinking and processes,
conventional and unconventional approaches to diagramming in / for urban design)

(diagrams as a way to represent meaning; to clarify / communicate with accuracy and specificity)

(diagrams used to reveal, explore, analyze and represent information and ideas)

(diagrams used to hint, suggest, obfuscate, subvert, conceal or lie)

(diagrams that simulate and present composite perspectives, juxtapositions of ideas and objects, and
communicate processes and narratives)

(diagram as process and tool for engagement)
Submission Requirements:

Abstract / Description (text) : 500 words or less
Images: no more than 5 thumbnails – total file size under 5MBs.

Please send abstracts and/or images via email to cudc@kent.edu no later than Friday, June 8th 2012. We welcome new, in-progress or pre-published, original work.

Relevant Dates:
Abstracts due: Friday, June 8th 2012
Notification to selected contributors: Monday, June 18th 2012
Final entries due: Friday, July 27th 2012
Expected publication: September 2012


Open Urban Designer Position at CUDC

PLEASE NOTE: Application deadline has passed – we are no longer accepting resumes.

The Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) is currently seeking applicants for an Urban Designer position. The Urban Designer will be an emerging design practitioner with a deep commitment to working with community groups and public involvement in the design process. He or she will be involved in all aspects of the CUDC’s operations, working closely with CUDC staff on community design projects, research efforts, and technical service contracts. The successful candidate will hold an advanced degree in landscape architecture, architecture or planning, and have 2-3 years of professional experience in urban design or a closely related field. Strong graphic presentation skills, including hand drawing and digital methods, are essential. Knowledge of advanced computer applications and an interest in urban design teaching at graduate or undergraduate level are preferred, as well as a record of project work and/or research publication.

The Urban Designer will be a full-time employee of Kent State University, with a full benefit package. This is an administrative position, which does not include the possibility of tenure. Salary is dependent upon qualifications.

To apply for the position, please visit Kent State University’s Employment site here and search for position number 990632.

The Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) is a community design and research division of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) at Kent State University. Based in a new facility in downtown Cleveland, the CUDC provides technical design assistance to communities throughout the northeast Ohio region, conducts research into urgent and emerging areas of design practice, and offers a variety of public education and design advocacy programs. CUDC staff participate in the graduate level architecture and urban design curriculum for the CAED, including studios and seminar courses that convene at the CUDC’s Cleveland facility.

For additional information, please contact the CUDC at 216.357.3434 or cudc@kent.edu.


BioCellar Event 4/26 @ CUDC

Click here to download BioCellar invite pdf


CUDC Welcomes Sagree Sharma as Project Manager

Sagree Sharma will join the staff of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative as Project Manager starting March 16. Sagree received her Master of City Planning degree from MIT in 2007. Her undergraduate education in architecture was at the Rizvi College of Architecture at University of Mumbai.

In her practice Sagree focuses on design at multiple scales, using a systems approach to complex urban problems. She brings expertise in ecological planning to all her work, and she is particularly interested in issues of community outreach and equity in the urban design process. This is reflected in her graduate work, which included service as an MIT Public Service Fellow in post-Katrina New Orleans, where she helped establish a startup non-profit doing environmental remediation and redevelopment.

After completing her masters, Sagree was one of two initial hires to the New York based urban design and planning practice of Arup, the internationally regarded design and engineering firm. There she managed notable projects for public agencies, including the Long Island 2035 Sustainability Plan (for the Long Island Regional Planning Council) and the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center, an innovative vision plan for a 250 acre, green economic and social hub centered around urban agriculture, food processing and distribution.

Sagree’s skills in ecological planning and project management enhance the CUDC’s capacity to serve clients looking for innovative ways to get the highest possible performance out of potential development and renewal projects in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.


Cleveland Stories: True until proven otherwise

“The world is made of stories, not atoms.”
-Muriel Rukeyser

The CUDC’s upcoming journal will be entitled Cleveland Stories: True until proven otherwise. As the name suggests, we’re interested in exploring the connection between physical place and meaning through the creation of narratives. Following a similar format to our previous journals, we’re working with a diverse group of local and international designers, artists and writers to generate content that addresses the various modes of urban storytelling and to gather an archive of compelling stories in need of embodiment.

The Cleveland Stories project is larger than just a book, it includes a StorySlam event, exhibition at the Cleveland Institute of Art’s Reinberger gallery and neighborhood based temporary interventions.

The StorySlam is an opportunity for individuals to share their favorite story about a Cleveland place – past, present or future. Fact or fiction. Funny, sad, exciting…it’s up to you. The best stories will be published in Cleveland Stories: True until proven otherwise. For the StorySlam, we’re looking for:

  • historians and story tellers who can tell us about lesser-known aspects of Cleveland’s history — particularly stories that are about a specific place in the city
  • creative writers who can invent a useful fiction for a Cleveland neighborhood and convince us of this alternate reality
  • artists and urban designers

Cleveland StorySlam
Thursday, Feb 24th
CIA’s Coventry Center
Upper level of 1854 Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights

Come to the StorySlam February 24 and toss your name in the hat. We’ll pick ten people to tell their stories. Remember that you have to tell a story, not read one. No notes, papers, or cheat sheets are allowed. You’ll have five minutes to tell your story, so come rehearsed!

The StorySlam isn’t only for story tellers – good story listeners are also welcome. If you hear an inspiring story, enter our Shoebox Diorama Challenge by building a small scale model of your design intervention idea. Each winning diorama artist will receive $50!

You can RSVP to the StorySlam on our Facebook event page.

We’ll release more details on the contributors to the book and the gallery exhibit soon, so please visit www.ClevelandStoryBook.com for more information and updates on the project. You can also contact us at stories@popupcleveland.com or use our online form to submit your stories. We’re looking forward to seeing (and hearing) you on Feb. 24th!


CUDC Grand Opening Promo Video

Thanks go out to Kent State’s University Communications and Marketing office for creating this video of our opening reception held September 15, 2010. We were glad to have Kent State president Lester Lefton, the board of trustees and so many of our friends in attendance for the event.

If you weren’t able to attend the opening, please stop by to say ‘hello’ and see our new space at 1309 Euclid Ave., Suite 200. We couldn’t have asked for a better landlord than PlayhouseSquare and we enjoy running into our new neighbors at Moko, our go-to coffee and lunch spot. Although we still have fond memories of the ol’ triangle building, sometimes change can be a good thing.