On Friday, we spent the day visiting the various sites of some of the past and on-going A+CB projects. This was a great opportunity for us to reflect on the history of the program, to appreciate the hard work of many of the previous A+CB students, and to recognize the level of quality in the builds those students achieved.
Visiting these projects early on gives us the ability to think about “the big picture” of these projects before we begin our own. During our visits, we had the opportunity to observe someone from the local community actually using and engaging with almost every project. Some were gardening, some were just relaxing on a bench, some were talking to friends, and some just simply enjoying the outdoors. This made it clear to me that these projects are more than just another studio design project or a fun piece of architecture. Each project had a role to play in the community it served and became something of higher value to its users.
The context of each project varied with some being located in a rural setting, others in a more urban setting, and also some in a sort of mix of both. I began to think about the relationship between the surrounding built and natural landscapes and how some of the projects aspired to strike a balance between the two. Many of the projects were a place where natural processes, vegetation and wildlife, could exist in an urban setting. Conversely, projects like the Crop Stop served as a resource/network in a rural setting.
The projects sites all came with their own unique set of challenges which called for different solutions. It was interesting to see similar construction methods and materials in the various projects but each having their own unique twist. I am very excited to learn more about construction and assembly and the decision making process that goes with it.