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Archive for the ‘Environmental Design’Category

Transforming Our Public and Privately Owned Public Spaces

The visual and information design three class were assigned a Poster Design project each charged with the task of reimaging seating in a public space (park), which includes Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS). They then visited their selected sites, observed visitors experiencing the space; came up with a theme to recreate seating that would be interpreted as a poster. All wrote an essay defining the visitors experience and the space redesign. Some themes from assigned readings, online resources, website links plus a short film featuring Chris Holmes, user-experience researcher discussing his teams work with the Municipal Arts Society new POPS website. Such resources will enable them to further hash out themes for their design of the poster and seating, and essay, along with photos documenting site visits. From this a series of poster and seating sketches were developed, and some material examples. The final designs show a mix of themes and critical thinking. For example, students like Kelly McCrossin and Russell Howe chose the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center; (formerly Reebok Climbing Wall), is a POPS site. The duos choose reclaimed wood for seating which perfectly compliments the swath of greenery that covers living plant wall designed by the award-winning firm Todd Williams Billie Tsien Architects. In contrast Daniella Shin’s waterfront environment the Chelsea Cove of Hudson River Park she created “My Adobe,” a multifunctional bike stand with a table crafted from bamboo. Riders can easily access Wi-Fi to check email, or relax to drink water and eat or read while taking in the scenic views of the Hudson River. Jennifer Coppola selected the Highline; one block away from the waterfront in trendy Chelsea neighborhood this elevated pedestrian concrete style boardwalk stretches from 14th Street to 23rd street offers visitor’s majestic views of Jersey City and NYC landscape. Concerned by the lack of adequate sitting inspired Jennifer to consider adding more seating to make for a better visitor experience. 
The two students Katia Bourbon and Nicole Abesamis worked on Paley Park a respite from the city. This small three-sided privately owned-public space located on 3 West 53rd Street. Upcycling seating made from automobile tires inspired Kytzia; the chairs cushions are bright green grass, retrofitted with legs made from reclaimed wood. Nicole crafts anthropomorphic shaped rock seating meant to invigorate Paley Park with organic spatial design, as if designed by nature. Both students disliked the Bertoia wire mesh side chairs which reminded them too much of lunch hour scene from Mad Men television show. Yet, they kept the theme of the streaming waterfall muffling the hustle and bustle of midtown traffic. 
Socrates Sculpture Park, is located in Long Island City in Queens, two students Jane Choi and Kelsey Bryden introduced seating resembling iconic symbols of the parks existing sculpture—transforming the parks urban decay to more family friendly.  
Each student wrote a 500-word essay that describes the location, observation of seating, the functionality and social interactivity, and the spaces architectural design team. My goal was to get the student’s to look at the seating as an object; allow the object to define the space with the visitor in mind. There were concerns with concept development to not use the history as a way of interpreting the reimaging. The student’s research and what they wrote was not part of the poster text; but it did become a part of the process of solving the problem. And the writing helps them to see the larger context of the problem and to shape their design thinking. They framed the writing process in terms of experience (the user and visitor). Some of the essays focused on the outdated mode of furnishings, drab ambience or eco-friendly materials; others on the lack of public art and poorly designed signage. My hope that the students understand the necessity for maintaining public spaces and how this has a profound effect on their daily lives of living and working in an urban environment.

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Remembering Sylvia Harris

By Michele Y. Washington design critic and friend

photo credit: george larkins

The process of paying tribute to the passing of my dear friend Sylvia Harris is an honor, but at the same time it’s perplexing. It is with profound sadness that the design community mourns the lost of Sylvia who passed away on July 24th at the age of 57. On Thursday, July 21st, she collapsed during a meeting in Washington, was rushed to George Washington University Hospital where doctors put her on life support. Surrounded by a host of family members and heartfelt friends who rallied by her side, she later passed due to heart complications.

Sylvia was a beacon, one of those luminous stars whose brilliance encapsulated the design profession at a time when black women designers were few in numbers. I first stumbled upon an article in either Print Magazine of Communication Arts featuring Sylvia with her partners at Two Twelve Associates, a firm she helped cofound with several classmates from Yale Graduate School of Design. It was her smiling face beaming from the photo, a fluke phone call that lead to us meeting. And thus our 20-year friendship blossomed.

Her vibrant career spans more than 25 years. Sylvia functioned in the design community more like a cultural ambassador, serving on the AIGA national board, the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, and was the recipient of a Design Trust Fellowship for Taxi 07.  Much like that fluke phone of us meeting planted the seeds of friendship, the same scenario replayed when Sylvia joined forces with a group of designers that ignited the charge for the first OBD conference,“Dogon to Digital,” held in Chicago. Known as a kind-spirited person, Sylvia could always be called upon to mentor and inspire numerous designers, whom she counseled to keep forging ahead and they too could make inroads in the design profession.

Gail Anderson, Michele Y. Washington and Sylvia Harris

Recently, Sylvia rebranded her firm from Sylvia Harris LLC to Citizen Research & Design a name befitting of her commitment in communicating the needs of public programming and design policy for government, educational and non-profit institutions. Last summer 2010, Sylvia participated in Design Journey: You Are Here, exhibit held at the AIGA national headquarters in NYC. (click this link: http://www.aiga.org/design-journeys-sylvia-harris/)

Yes, I can boast of the mountainous accolades and awards as an acclaimed information designer, however her biggest rewards were being a loving wife to Gary, an attentive mother to a teenage daughter Thai, and fabulous sister to Juliette Harris, and a gracious friend to many. We will all miss Sylvia’s fortitude for life, her spirited walk, sparkling smile, inquisitive chats, and her brilliant mind. (Above image from AIGA Design Journey opening, Spring 2010).

Please share your blessings as Sylvia’s spirit walks through the starry night skies along her journey.

Details for a memorial service will be posted during the fall on http://citizenrd.com/

Citizen R&D BCAT Feature from CitizenRD on Vimeo.




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IRAAA Special Issue Merges Science, Technology, Art + Design

The International Review of African American Art just published a special issue which shows how aesthetic, scientific and mathematical configurations can be perceived in everything and experienced in many ways. This full seeing and being is a spark for innovation in art, science, technology, engineering, architecture and mathematics and, more broadly, in education and business… and life!

This Spring issue features a spectacular group of design and cultural critics, and theorist writing on science, Afro Futurism, STEM Education and the Interplay of Patterns are just a few of the amazing features highlighted in this issue. Pick up a copy and delve into creative intelligence!

 




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GLIDE10: Fabiola Berdiel + Cynthia Lawson Development through Empowerment, Entrepreneurship, and Design.

GLIDE10: Fabiola Berdiel + Cynthia Lawson Development through Empowerment, Entrepreneurship, and Design presenters brings us up-to-date on Parsons School of Design ongoing mission of incorporating social responsibility in to learning processes as applied to several design disciplines such as product, architecture and more.

One great aspect of Parsons School of Design  program is there hybridity of bringing students together from various disciplines to share information to build stronger coherent knowledge bases. The challenge is instructors function as facilitators, this mode of teaching forces the students to take a more interactive role to immerse themselves fully in there projects, and learn new platforms of studying beyond formal and informal methods of learning.  Students also have the opportunity to acquire primary research through traveling to developing/emerging  countries and explore various modes of practices while interacting with local people,  investigating new materials and methods to enhance new ways of design thinking. This provides the student with practical and hands-on experiences to build a diverse dialog rooted  in social and cultural constructs not available by just sitting in a classroom or surfing the internet.

 

Questions:
I’m curious how the outcomes are measured by the students each semester? When the students interact with other cultures through travels, how does this figure into the collaborative process? How do these other ethnic cultures respond to the presences of your students?

I love the concept of students taking on the role of facilitators as a shared experience with this projects. How does this method evolve from semester to semester? Do the students view themselves as real agents of change? If so what are some of the outcomes?

What are the draws backs of the participatory process in this model of learning?

For more information click on: deed.parsons.edu




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FIT Exhibition Design Project: Food Opera

In my classroom I challenge my students to think beyond there own cultural beliefs and to expand the dialog of what globalization and culture means as applied to their ideation and design thinking. Here are a few examples of mindmapping/billboarding techniques used to jump start there projects. Below are several examples of students finished projects, billboarding presentations and team interactions.

Isabeal Maryland Crab presentation

Roni, Sarah and Sparky deep in thought

Dominka Polish Food expo, she incorporated poetic verses.





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THIS WEEK’S BUZZ: GLIDE10 + Global Bloggers

Sorry I took a little time-out, however I’m back with this week’s buzz. Eric Benson from the University of Illinois, in Urbana and I will be the quest blogger for GLIDE10, a virtual symposium taking place on 27 October, 2010, starting early at 8:30AM. Eric maintains renourish blog that focuses on sustainable design. We’ll be posting questions on our blogs, and twitting simultaneously during each presenters talk from all over the globe. This years theme focuses on indigenous design with line-up featuring a host of design intellectuals from around the world, such as Audra Buck-Coleman from China, Adream Blair-Early from USA, Dr. Li-Hsun Peng and Chia-Hsin, from Taiwan are among some of the distinguished presenters this year. Great you don’t need to travel anywhere far. It’s easy to register then throw back while you relax  at home in front of your computer, TV in your jammies, or office or classroom space and just listen.

Keep in mind none of my commentary postings directly reflect the opinions of the conference planning committee Audrey Bennett, Adream Blair-Early and Gloria Gomez. As a designer and educator I was asked to share my opinions and that’s exactly what I have done.

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ARCHITECTURE: Renee Kemp-Rotan’s Call For Haiti

Renee Kemp-Rotan co-founder of the blog,  BlackDesignNews.com and the director of Capital Projects for the City of Birmingham, Alabama has authored a project to revitalize the devastated country of Haiti. She’s seeking all those creative visionaries interested in helping to rebuild Haiti to answer the international call for papers.

The following as reported on BDN:

TOWARDS A POST-EARTHQUAKE DEVELOPMENT MANUAL

by Renee Kemp-Rotan, author of the code
A Culture Code for Haiti: The Rebuilding of National Identity through Architecture (NIA) assumes that culturally informed architecture can help to fulfill new national ideals, through rebuilding Haiti as a utopian civilization with NIA/purpose.
First, The Culture Code will outline a comprehensive framework of 100 cultural considerations advanced across the socio-economic geography of pre-colonial, colonial, post-colonial and post-earthquake Haiti, in a way that informs all future design and development.
Second, The Culture Code is an international call for papers to address 100 topics on Haitian culture, politics and space for:
•    cultural anthropologists
•    geographers
•    policy planners
•    urban designers
•    architects
•    developers
•    economists
•    historians
•    disaster experts
Third, The Culture Code will meld ‘form and content’ data collected above to propose a series of design principles structured to influence all future and permanent master plan efforts in the rebuilding of post-earthquake Haiti. Thus both quantitative and qualitative design decisions can be made.
Fourth, The Culture Code will develop specific ‘pilot prototypes’ that lead to a system of development contracts that follow best practices for town planning/settlement building/housing designs (macro and micro) that  are culturally significant, replicable, yet influenced by population capacity, location, geography, transportation, communication and resources.

For more information: visit http://www.haiticulturecode.com

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