Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Beginning of Community D/B

Sunday night, I started my Community Design Build class with Steve Badanes, Jim Adamson and Bill Bialosky. Coming into the class, nobody (including instructors) was sure about what the project was. The Community D/B class is well known and very popular, designing structures that addressed needs of the community. (The first four pictures of this post were built during previous Community D/B classes.)

We soon found out that we were given a small plot of land at a new affordable housing complex to build some sort of community spot. The area is problematic because there are many manhole covers, drains and a pumpstation to the septic tanks scattered around that we can't build over. There is also a strange subtle slope that could be an issue. There is a retention pond to the south that is an eyesore, but there is also a cute stream that can be spotted from the right angle.

These folks are generally standing in the area that we're going to build our structure:

The only program that the clients (landlords) provided for the place was a spot for parents to sit and watch their children playing.

The class (13 people) came back and broke into three groups. We brainstormed and sketched, then came back for a group meeting where we discussed ideas. Over the next two days, this process happened about 6 times. We had started by designing complex structures with multiple platforms and lots of program, but after a second visit to the site this morning, we realized how small the space we had to work with was. Each time we broke into groups, it almost seemed like a step backwards - we were breaking into different groups each time, so we had to start from scratch. However, around 3:00 this afternoon, we discovered that all of our groups were designing the same thing. From all our group discussions and mixing around, the ideas had been evenly distributed and somewhat settled. The best had come out, it seemed. These instructors seem to know what they're doing.

So that's where we are. Right now, some folks are finishing up a site model so that we can build our idea to scale.

(Actually, as I was typing this entry, the site model was finished.)

We present to the clients tomorrow at 10am. Every moment awake is expected to be spent on this project, it seems, so I am already fairly exhausted. However, the project is exciting and once we get a design approved tomorrow, we'll get to start building.

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