William Doran, professional in residence at the LSU School of Architecture, presented “Re-Envisioning Public Space through Service Learning in Architecture” at the Engagement Scholarship Consortium 2013 Meeting at Texas Tech University, October 8–9. His presentation was based on the work he and his students did in the fall 2012 Mid City Studio.
Below is the abstract from Doran’s presentation. Visit midcitystudio.org for more information or follow Baton Rouge Mid City Studio on Facebook at facebook.com/BRMidCityStudio to receive updates about community and fundraising events.
The Louisiana State University Bachelor of Architecture program includes a service-learning studio that encourages students to act as socially responsible professionals by not only considering buildings’ impact on the environment but also on the communities in which they exist. In the last century, many American cities experienced significant, unplanned development due to inexpensive suburban land and convenient transportation via the automobile and interstate highway. Baton Rouge, the university’s home town, is no exception. Mid City—a diverse, economically valuable area outside of downtown—has suffered from the fading infrastructure, lost public spaces and poor image that outward development left behind. The School of Architecture has been working with the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance, a non-profit community organization, to identify potentially valuable, public spaces in Mid City to be studied and transformed through design. This workshop will explore two projects as a model for service-learning that teaches design and social responsibility while giving something back to the city. Both projects supported an effort to repurpose a decommissioned firehouse into a museum for the Baton Rouge Fire Department. For the first project, the students transformed the parking lot behind the firehouse into a public venue for celebrating the fire department and history of Mid City. The event served to present the goals of the museum project and receive feedback from the public. Students then designed proposals for the museum. For the second project, students designed a public pinup to present their museum proposals as part of an art hop sponsored by the Mid City Merchants Association. The public pinup transformed the façade of an old building on a major corridor in Mid City into a venue for public input. Both projects used simple materials and lighting to create temporary public spaces that not only helped the students understand the city but also gave a vision for public space back to the city.
About the Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC)
The Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC) is a non-profit educational organization composed of a mix of public and private higher education member institutions. The goal of ESC is to work collaboratively to build strong university-community partnerships anchored in the rigor of scholarship and designed to help build community capacity. Visit engagementscholarship.org for more information.
About William Doran
William Doran has been teaching at the LSU School of Architecture since 2010. Doran was hired as a professional in residence for a three-year term to focus on community design and engagement efforts in Baton Rouge for the School of Architecture. Alongside teaching, Doran recently began working with the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute on a research grant through LSU’s Coastal Sustainability Studio to develop affordable, resilient housing models for South Lafourche Parish. He has also worked professionally in architecture in Baton Rouge on residential projects with Montgomery & Waggenspack Architects since 2011. Doran received a Bachelor of Architecture from LSU and a Master of Architecture in design build from the University of Kansas. His collaborative design-build work at the University of Kansas won a 2011 Residential Architect Design Award. The winning design was a LEED Platinum and Passive House Certified single-family residence.
About LSU School of Architecture
LSU School of Architecture students develop a solid foundation of traditional design, hand building, and drawing skills and learn to use computer and technological resources. The architecture program at LSU provides a balance between broadening educational experiences and discipline-focused coursework. In addition to learning how to make buildings, students develop a sense of professionalism and leadership in shaping the world by learning how to see, think, and act creatively. For more information, visit architecture.lsu.edu.
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