The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) announced three NCARB Award winners last night at the American Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) administrators conference. I’m thrilled that a proposal I co-wrote with Emily McGlohn, Assistant Professor of Architecture at MSU CAAD, and John Poros, director of the Carl Small Town Center (CSTC), was chosen as an award recipient.
Our proposal brings together the community design expertise of the CSTC, Emily McGlohn’s teaching knowledge and Rural Studio background, and my social impact architecture practice in Greenwood, Mississippi. Students will engage in three ways: immersion, discussions, and workshops. Gaining leadership skills, community engagement experience, and a broad perspective on the field of architecture, class participants will expand their understanding of how architects can apply their expertise to the challenges that face our society and our planet today.
Read about all three winners here, and then check out this site (preview below) and this book, “Spatial Agency: Other Ways of Doing Architecture” that inspire us.
James Arentson, a first year Enterprise Rose Fellow with Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, talks lessons learned about modular, affordable housing in this post on Enterprise’s Field Notes blog. It’s hard to believe James is only in his first year of the fellowship when you read his insightful and honest assessment of the challenges and potential within the modular industry, but even more impressive is the Community Development Investment grant James helped SWMHP win through Artplace. This award means serious funding, and recognizes SWMHP’s commitment to local culture and residents. Nice job, James.
Photo credit SWMHP and James Arentson
Baptist Town Community Development opened the new BT Community Center in May. We are looking for someone passionate about connecting people to resources (such as education, health and employment related opportunities) to join our team in the early growth stages of this community led neighborhood hub.
To apply for this one year Americorps VISTA appointment send a resume to Emily Roush-Elliott at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information and application links coming soon.
Thanks to local Food Corps member, Sara Hazelnis, a Healthy Habits youth class is happening at the Baptist Town Community Center on Tuesdays this October. Yesterday’s class planted vegetable seeds. We’re looking forward to peas in November.
Last month I wrote a blog post for Enterprise linking the inspiration I have gained from Lina Bo Bardi’s work, particularly SESC Pompeia, with the aspirations our team has for the Baptist Town Community Center. I reference a quote of hers that I read in Rowan Moore’s Why We Build about when she first visited the site:
“’I thought: it has to continue like this, with so much happiness. I returned many times, Saturdays and Sundays, until I really got it – understood those happy things people were doing.’”
As we celebrated the opening of the Baptist Town Community Center, I was reminded of the lessons I learned from SESC. Here, we similarly (albeit within a shorter time frame and smaller budget) worked with the bones of an existing building. We set up shop within the Baptist Town neighborhood and attempted to make small and useful additions to a place that is already vibrant with life and energy.
After one month of operations, I’m not ready to write any grant reports about “measurable impacts” or “long-term outcomes”, but the number of people who are participating and enjoying the center is really promising. In June we had Zumba classes, community movie nights, and offered job application assistance. Yolande’s art classes were a huge success, sometimes drawing more than twenty-five people. To me, this is the goal of social impact architecture; to make a space like the Baptist Town Community Center a happy place.
The upcoming class of Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellows will be one of the most diverse in terms of geography, scale and partners yet. The five exciting opportunities will be located in New York City; Poughkeepsie, NY; Porcupine, SD; Seattle, WA; and Denver, CO. Learn about the fellowship, the five work plans, and how to apply here.
The application deadline has been extended to July 26th, 2015.
Enterprise summarizes the Fellowship, “The Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship partners early-career architectural designers with local community development organizations, where they facilitate an inclusive approach to development to create green, sustainable, and affordable communities. As an integral staff member of the organization, the fellow will focus on advancing the organization’s practices in community engagement, sustainability and design excellence.
By becoming a fellow, you join a growing network of passionate and talented public interest designers who are continuously changing what is possible in community development.”
Here is one last profile of a Cottage owner assisted by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas Home Equity Leverage Partnership Program (FHLB HELP). A lifelong resident of the Baptist Town neighborhood, Dorothy was one of the first people to apply for a cottage. Throughout the process of preparing for the project, construction and sale of the homes, Dorothy was patient and supportive, but also didn’t hesitate to be honest. She helped guide me and this project with wisdom and spunk that I think show in her picture.
The PR Newswire summarizes her story this way, “Dorothy Russell, 61, knows you can go home again. She was awarded a Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership grant from Planters Bank & Trust Company and FHLB Dallas which was put toward her down payment on her new home. Her new home is located on the same lot of her childhood home.” In her own words, “‘I was away from this spot for nearly 30 years,” she said. “I always wanted to buy a house, but I didn’t expect it to be exactly where I grew up. I’m so proud of my house.'”
Read the full article here.
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas continues the series featuring Cottage buyers with a great PR Newswire article about Lora and Michael.
“Lora and Michael Gallion were lifelong renters and living on a fixed income. The only houses the couple could afford were run-down spaces that were almost uninhabitable.
Then one day, the Gallions saw a sign about the Baptist Town Cottages, a revitalized neighborhood in Greenwood, Mississippi, with new homes for families earning less than 50 percent of the area median income.
“I’m so glad we saw the sign,” said Mrs. Gallion, 50, a former certified nursing assistant now living on disability. “We had looked at other homes to rent, but even at $400 a month, the condition of them was not good.””
Continue reading the article at PR Newswire.
By far, one of the highlights of the American Institute of Architects 2015 National Convention was Moshe Safdie’s acceptance of the Gold Medal Award. Safdie’s work strikes the difficult balance between sensitivity and scale, between humane and replicable.
In this TED talk from 2014, Safdie shares design and planning lessons learned over nearly fifty years, beginning with Habitat ’67 and spanning to projects currently under construction in Singapore. Though he discusses low and middle income housing throughout this video, his focus is on nature and shared spaces, underlying the lack of ego with which Safdie approaches architecture.
He who seeks truth shall find beauty
He who seeks beauty shall find vanity
He who seeks order shall find gratification
He who seeks gratification shall be disappointed
He who considers himself a servant of his fellow beings shall find the joy of self expression
He who seeks self expression shall fall into the pit of arrogance
Arrogance is incompatible with nature
Through nature, the nature of the universe and the nature of man, we shall seek truth
If we seek truth we shall find beauty
Theresa Hwang’s article, Designing for Equity: Using a Civil Rights Framework, is a must-read for anyone invested in the social impact design field. For both new and experienced practitioners the writing provides leadership by shining a light on the knowledge that the field has earned in recent years.
My favorite quote: “Design needs civil rights outcomes, not just functional, programmatic, and aesthetic outcomes. Design can be a strategy to redistribute power and create more opportunities for full participation in the shaping of our built environment, resulting in more equitable neighborhoods and empowered residents.”
Theresa’s article is the third installment of an eight part series on Designing for Equity. Follow them all as they are released.
Photo from Theresa’s article.
“I tell my students, it’s got to be warm, dry and noble.” – Samuel Mockbee
Photos of Baptist Town in the snow. Credit: Richard Elliott