Monday, September 28, 2009

Palleroni Lecture Countdown

On the evening of October 20th, architect and activist Sergio Palleroni will present a lecture of his work and experiences at the Graham Foundation. It should pair well with the new exhibit opening that week at the Graham called Actions. More on that later.

When planning for this started, Mr. Palleroni's name sounded only vaguely familiar until I remembered seeing him featured on an episode of Design e2. One of the services his organization, BaSiC Initiative provides is teaching very poor communities how to build housing from materials available on the land. Often times these result in now forgotten methods of construction as was the case on the Design e2 episode when he taught a Native American community in Mexico how to build houses out of adobe brick. He thus not only provides what we would neatly categorize his housing as affordable, but he teaches communities how to build them for themselves, empowering them with skills they can pass on to future generations indefinitely.

As a sort of countdown to the event, I'll be writing a series of posts on the organizations involved with planning the lecture. Over the next three weeks, look for posts in the form of summaries or interviews or both about National Public Housing Museum, City Design Center, Graham Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Converge:Exchange, ADPSR, LL Consulting, SHED Studio and Urban Habitat Chicago.

The lecture will be followed by a panelist discussion with a chance to ask questions. This is a rare opportunity and I, for one, am grateful for Mr. Palleroni donating his time like this to share his craft with us. The lecture starts at 6pm.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Blogging for the AIA

For the next 3 days I'll be blogging from AIA's Changing Times|Time for Change conference at the Wyndham Hotel. They asked if I was interested and, upon reviewing the schedule of topics, I said yes. You can find my posts here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Volunteers Needed in September for Exhibition Evaluation Project

From the Chicago Architecture Foundation:

Gallery Observations for Chicago Model City

CAF is looking for volunteers to be part of an important project this year that will help us better understand our audience visitation for exhibitions in the atrium space. Volunteers are needed to help evaluate the effectiveness of the 2009 exhibition Chicago Model City which runs June 11-November 21, 2009. Volunteers will conduct gallery movement observations, hand out surveys to visitors, and track attendance numbers.

If you have an interest in learning more about the interests of CAF’s audiences and the effectiveness of CAF’s marketing and exhibition development please join us on this project!

We are currently looking for volunteers during the week of Friday, September 25 – Thursday, October 1. Shifts run in 2-1/2 hour increments from 9am – 6:30pm. Service hours will be earned for each shift.

To sign up, please contact Barbara Gordon at or 312-922-3432 ext 225.

See my previous post about the exhibit here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Exhibit Review: The Glue Factory

On Friday, I attended the opening of a new exhibit at I-Space, The Glue Factory. On display was documentation of peoples' fears.

Curated by Rashmi Ramaswamy and Mike Newman of
Shed Studio and Helen Slade, all of whom are part of The Museum of Contemporary Phenomenon, this show is the culmination of a number of studies and surveys that began with an interactive method for community members to state their fears in a gallery exhibit called "What Do You Fear?/House of Fear". Ms. Ramaswamy was surprised to find the majority of fears surrounding issues of growing old: alone, without money, unable to take care of one's self, degradation of mental and physical capacities. "Especially since, at the time, the major news headlines were about global issues such as the Afghan and Iraq wars and the fight on terrorism. The fears were rather selfish considering the issues being broadcast in the news."

Which is what makes The Glue Factory so well-timed today; health care and domestic issues are the big stories of the day. I've said
before, it's good to see architects take on social issues. We're so often focused on the built environment, the needs of the client and budgetary constraints that we never consider the social impact we may be making (or most often, the social impact we're not making).

The Glue Factory is on display on the 2nd floor of the
I-Space gallery and runs through October 10th.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 Declared Day of Service

What will you do?

If the plethora of links on the sidebar don't float your boat, I recommend contacting your alderman. Often times they will have a list of not-for-profits on their website. At the very least, they will have someone on staff to point you in the right direction.

Can't weasel out of work today? Here are two ideas for tomorrow. As mentioned in a
previous post, Rebuilding Together is conducting interviews of homeowners as well as scoping their homes to qualify them for their rebuilding day in April.

Also tomorrow, I'm coordinating a team on behalf of
Architecture for Humanity Chicago Chapter to head out to Peoples Church to do some field measuring. They provide church services on Sunday, yes, but the rest of the time they provide shelter for the homeless on their other floors. Here are some photos. The ultimate goal will be to document this beautiful and historic building but they have an immediate need for ADA upgrades and new restrooms. The more the merrier so if you're interested hit that little Contact Me link in the sidebar and send me a note.

Now I just have to figure out how to be in two places at once...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rebuilding Together this Saturday

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to shadow experienced Rebuilding Together interviewers. They typically work in pairs going to homes that have applied for this program. Once at the home, one person interviews the homeowner while the other scopes the house for rehab potential. There are so many homes and so much need for help that they will be doing these interviews for several more weekends. Once a home is approved it is added to the list of homes to be rehabbed on the building day which usually occurs in April. Last year Rebuilding Together rehabbed more than 75 homes - in one day!

I'll be there this Saturday, September 12th as well, this time on my own - that is, no shadowing. There's lots to do so please come and help out. Directions and contact info below:

Please join us at the Park National Bank at 11 W. Madison St. in Oak Park at 8:30 am this Saturday morning, September 12th.
Driving Directions: The bank is easily accessible by exiting I-290 at Austin Blvd (Exit 23A). Travel north 5 blocks and turn Left on Madison Ave. The bank and parking lot are on the south side of the street. (Please park in the gravel lot near the bank, not the paved lot). We will be meeting on the 2nd floor.Public Transit Directions: Take the Green Line to the Austin stop. We will be happy to arrange to pick you up from the train. The bank in approx. 5 blocks south of the train station. Please let me know if you would like a ride. Please also tell us if you will not be bringing a vehicle so I can make sure each team has a car.

Please keep my cell phone number in case you need to contact me for any reason, Andrea's cell: (920)650-0994.