Chapter Works in Progress

Chapter Works in Progress

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Jan 21, 2013
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Architecture for Humanity's chapters have been working hard on projects throughout the world - this year we'll be spotlighting active chapter projects, and the people behind them, in a regular update series.

This week we're featuring New Haven's ParkFEST furniture competition, Toronto's Swaziland Trade School extension, and Vancouver's Chinatown Laneway Recovery.

These projects have been highlighted to show the variety of topics that the Chapters tackle. Each one shows a dedication to community design and problem solving.

ParkFEST furniture competition
New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven Chapter

An affordable, durable, and easy to construct urban furniture competition put on by the New Haven Chapter. The goal was to design furniture pieces of a picnic table, trash bin, and bicycle rack, which will be used in the popular food truck hangout spot in the waterfront of Long Wharf Park.

"Today, the Long Wharf neighborhood is cutoff from surrounding neighborhoods by highways, railroads, and large segregated land use parcels," the Chapter points out. "Long Wharf Park is the only public infrastructure that begins to connect the area back into the surrounding neighborhoods and thus join the waterfront to the urban life of the city. The urban furniture designs are considered a test for the city and if ultimately successful, could be built and used throughout the city park system."

The winning design, by Sean Evellich and Josh Sikora, features a hybrid design that combines all elements into a sleek and basic construction.

El Shaddai Rural Trade School
El Shaddai Mission, Swaziland
Toronto Chapter

The El Shaddai Mission Public School in Swaziland, Africa, is seeking to add a trade school to its program.

Aiming to provide a durable, low cost, and self-sufficient facility, the Toronto Chapter has created two design plans that reflect the needs of this rural school. In response to the constraints on resources, climatic conditions, and social challenges, the Toronto Chapter designed an easily built modular system that includes courtyards and fruit orchards, while responding to cultural context. The construction techniques are expected to be easily reproduced by the local community.

Results of design charrette

Chinatown Laneway Recovery
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver Chapter

The Vancouver Chapter has undertaken the mission to revitalize the laneways of Chinatown.

The laneways are currently used as service routes and occasionally act as sites for illicit activities. In an attempt to bring back the rich culture that they once offered, the Vancouver Chapter has compiled a document that includes information from site visits, design workshops, and community meetings.

Based on this research, they collaborated with students from the Emily Carr University of Art + Design through a week long design studio to create an adaptable canopy system that will help connect the community the laneways. The canopy design was well-received by the Chinatown community and the City of Vancouver. A city-sponsored functional prototype will be fabricated in February 2013.