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Posts Tagged ‘Habitat for Humanity’

Leaving behind New Orleans and its food and music scene (Snug Harbor, Preservation Hall, and a great jazz vocalist at The Spotted Cat), the team then traveled to Auburn University’s Rural Studio, started in 1993 by the late Samuel Mockbee.  Students here design and build homes and community buildings for the poorest parts of the Deep South (and thus the poorest parts of the entire nation). The goal of the Rural Studio is to teach students about their responsibility as a designer with real world application in rural Alabama. According to Mockbee, “if architecture is going to nudge, cajole, and inspire a community to challenge the status quo into making responsible changes, it will take the subversive leadership of academics and practitioners who keep reminding students of the profession’s responsibilities.”

Below, catch glimpses of the Supershed Animal Shelter, the Rural Studio itself and the latest work of Auburn University’s students – a thesis project on $20k Houses. At Rural Studio, students learn by doing. You can view all photos from this trip by clicking here.


Harrington students Kate Ainsworth, Mary Daumer, Rachel Henson, Jessica Johnston, Brachla Messersmith, and Kurombi Wade-Oliver learned some great lessons from these hands-on experiences, and have some great stories to tell. The trip was a state-side offering of Harrington’s International Studies, which encourages alumni to participate. As Crandon Gustafson said at the conclusion of the trip, “I don’t think you could ask for a better experience than to work alongside our students serving others.”

Stay tuned for the program’s 2011 destinations!

Information courtesy Crandon Gustafson. Photos courtesy Peter Klick.

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This feature is continued from yesterday…

Areas of the Ninth Ward retain a rural character five years later, as many of the lots remain vacant and undeveloped. The bright spot, Make it Right,  was the focus for the afternoon. Brad Pitt’s initiative has thus far yielded 49 new homes designed by an international group of 21 architects including Thom Mayne and Shigeru Ban, with about half already completed and occupied. The team got an unexpected tour of one of these homes, when owner Robert invited them inside and pointed out the sustainable features, and told his story of disaster, displacement and recovery.

The Harrington team spent the entirety of the following day helping to construct a Habitat for Humanity home. Working alongside a future homeowner (volunteer hours are a requirement for ownership) they hung doors, installed window sills, baseboard and architectural trim after short lessons in the requisite power tools. H-for-H staffers are skilled in the trades; more importantly they are patient supervisors who get real production out of amateur volunteers.

The next day the team painted the exterior of a historic home in the Tremé, a neighborhood just west of the Quarter. The home was being brought back by a number of teams, including apprentices in the plaster trade (much better than drywall in this climate, keeps the interior cool, and dries out after a flood). The house happened to be across the street from Willie Mae’s Fried Chicken, featuring a James Beard-recognized chef in a most unexpected location.
To see all photos from the New Orleans part of the trip, click here.

Information courtesy Crandon Gustafson. Photos courtesy Peter Klick

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Harrington College of Design alumna Jennifer Lester joined six students, instructor Peter Klick, and Crandon Gustafson in New Orleans during the end-of-summer break, for a trip emphasizing service and sustainability in design. The team rendezvoused the evening of August 29th at Acme Oyster House in the French Quarter, on the 5th anniversary of Katrina’s landfall, and exchanged experiences of local culture, food and music.

The first full day called for familiarization with New Orleans in general and hurricane-affected areas in particular, starting with a three-hour morning bicycle tour. The team pedaled behind guide Bob Rodrigue through the Quarter, Faubourg Marigny and the Ninth Ward, seeing in the latter many remaining indicators of the flooding five years earlier: residual high water lines and the spray-painted symbols rescue teams used in the first days and weeks following the flooding, designating human and pet occupants, living or dead.

Keep reading tomorrow…

Information courtesy Crandon Gustafson. Photos courtesy Peter Klick   

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For her Fall 2009 Thesis project, Jennifer Sompolski created “Coalesce”, a sustainable community center for art and design students in Chicago. Using contrasting materials, the center is created for Chicago students to share their work and have a central area to collaborate and share creative inspiration.

I wanted to share this with you as I thought it was a really cool proposal that could really help benefit students if ever actually created… anyways, check out the cool video Jennifer created of her thesis project here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFewh7Z6ZiE
I got in touch with Jennifer to find out a little more.. here is what she said, “I believe good design has the capability of enhancing users’ lives and can ultimately make changes for a better world. Sustainable Design and Community Connectivity are my main focuses.”
Jennifer Sompolski, a LEED Green Associate, volunteers with community projects in her free time such as the BlueSky Project, Many Faces One Community, and Habitat for Humanity. Her other hobbies include dancing, painting landscapes, and going to theater productions.Thanks for sharing your work Jennifer!

She can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

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This fall at the Harrington College of Design, we have many exciting courses, including one called Experimental Design DSN426.

Within this class, you have the opportunity to go one pretty cool trip:

1st Stop: New Orleans, Louisiana. Visit the homes established by the Make it Right Foundation. In December 2006, Brad Pitt convened a group of experts in New Orleans to brainstorm building green affordable housing on a large scale to help those families most in need after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. That same group now formally comprises Make It Right, a nonprofit organization committed to helping former residents of the Lower 9th Ward rebuild their lives and community. Twenty one famous architects were invited to design affordable, environmentally respectful, durable, and of course aesthetically advanced homes in the traditional ‘shotgun’ and ‘duplex’ typologies. Find out more here. 

2nd Stop: Rural Studio, Auburn, Alabama. Auburn University’s Rural Studio   was started in 1993, by the late Samuel Mockbee. The goal of the program is to teach students about their responsibility as a designer with real world application in rural Alabama. “If architecture is going to nudge, cajole, and inspire a community to challenge the status quo into making responsible changes, it will take the subversive leadership of academics and practitioners who keep reminding students of the profession’s responsibilities.” -Samuel Mockbee.  

There will also be work with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans. You do not have to take the class in conjunction with this trip and you don’t have to take the trip when you take the class.

 Please contact Crandon Gustafson at cgustafson@harringtoncollege.com for more information.

 Photo courtesy Make It Right 

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