Chapter Update; Murals to Unite The Masses

Chapter Update; Murals to Unite The Masses

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Feb 19, 2013
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Murals, by nature, are community oriented projects and statements. They bring people in the local neighborhood together, while often telling a story. Their large scale allows for many layers of intricacy, artistic statements, political messages, historical figures, and playful images. Murals can be purely artistic expressions, community messages, or a combination of both. Three chapter projects have been selected, all involving the use of murals to build cohesion and allowing the community to take hold of the design process.

The [ART]box by the Washington D.C. Chapter, the SOMA Mural Project by the San Francisco Chapter, the We are El Futuro project by the Los Angeles Chapter.

Washington, District of Columbia
Washington D.C Chapter

Washington D.C. is a city that is constantly expanding; often devoting it’s focus to new development, while leaving abandoned lots with limited resources.

[ART]box is a project of the [IIII]box collective, which is an initiative to explore the use of design as a catalyst for community building and empowerment. Each project is tailored to the needs of the community where it will operate.

[ART]box is a portable environment that encourages community participation in creating and maintaining outdoor creative spaces. Selected by the non-profit organization, Albus Cavus, to be incorporated into their already existing program called Open Walls.

Open Walls brings artists, educators, and the community to collaborate and create murals and urban art walls. The [ART]box will function as a tool to be utilized in the Open Walls program by having a flexible design which can be molded to fit various activities.

SOMA Mural Project
San Francisco, California
San Francisco Chapter

San Francisco and the Bay Area are hubs for emerging forms of street art, from large-scale murals covering warehouse walls to mosaic-covered trashcans. While the Mission district of San Francisco is known for it’s popular graffiti walk, the emerging SOMA (South of Market) district has many bare walls that, to a pedestrian, create a disconnect from the built environment.

Neighbors have complained and even tried to combat graffiti tagging by continuously “whitewash” painting over it. Imagine instead a brightly colored mural, which the community can take ownership of as a piece of art. Seen from past murals, they make it much less susceptible to tagging.

For neighborhoods that are still developing their character, murals are an inexpensive and engaging process that can transform the energy of an area. In an effort to bring unity to these areas, painting a mural will provide a positive aspect everyone can enjoy.

Reflecting San Francisco's technology spirit, the mural will have a marker that links visitors to an interactive narrative told through a free mobile app that creates an augmented reality (A visual overlay seen through a mobile device that has stationary or moving objects – often an animation – which interact with the site or image seen through the screen). The story will allow people to learn more about the history of the project and the community involved.

We are "El Futuro"
Gardena, California
Los Angeles Chapter

The Environmental Charter Middle School (ECMS) inspires and prepares students for an eco-conscious future filled with sustainable lifestyle choices. ECMS teaches children the importance of living a balanced life with nature, being conscious of the impact of their decisions. ECMS teaches young people the importance of living lightly upon the earth, being stewards of your community, and being the change you wish to see in the world.

“El_Futuro Is Us” is a project regarding the ECMS new building, a reclaimed church and schoolhouse. Students will help in the transformation by creating their own piece of art that will be used to create a mural on the outskirts of the property during reconstruction. This allows ECMS to take ownership of the building during the construction phase and integrate themselves into the community of Gardena. By implementing a collaborative piece created by students and built by Cuningham Group Architects and James Stodgel, beauty and nature will be introduced into the revitalization process of this suburban landscape. After finished reconstruction, the mural will be flexible art; it can remain on the perimeter of the site, be integrated into the program of the redesign, or moved to a more accommodating space as the needs and activities of the students require.