Saturday, April 5, 2014

Novem Mason Symposium on Community-Engaged Design

On April 3, 2014 I attended the IARc Scholarship in the Gatewood Building at UNCG. It was a compilation of several different presentations that were delivered by faculty, student, ad staff in the Interior Architecture program. The presentations were about their scholarly and creative work in design and community engagement.

The first presentation I went to was by Tina Sarawgi. Her presentation was about daylight in interiors.  Ms. Sarawgi talks about the importance of understanding daylight and how it affects a space. In her teachings she has students make daylight models to show how light affects a space and the forms within that space. Her teachings also include sun angles. For example how the northern hemisphere differs from the southern hemisphere and how light from the north, south, east, and west affect a space. She also discussed terms that describe how to affect light such as bouncing, height, and geometry. Ms. Sarawgi also has her students to approach light in a particular order of different phases. Phase one is to observe what light does at different times. Phase two has the students to study other artists light work. The last phase has the students to experiment with light by changing the interior condition. I found her presentation very interesting and informative. I always consider natural lighting when ever I'm working on and interior space and agree with Ms. Sarawgi that understanding daylight or natural light is important for a designer.

The second presentation I went to was by Travis Hicks and some of the 4th year students. Their presentations talked about several different projects with in the community that they each were working on. The first project was for habitat for humanity. They very quickly went through their process of site analysis, design, and how they worked with contractors and other auxiliaries to actually build and make their installations into the home. The second project was called "Small Houses" and worked with finding homes for the homeless. They showed pictures that had a very basic design and a home that would have all the basic needs for a person to live. The next project was basically the same as the second one, only I believe the design was for a bigger house to provide shelter for more than one person. The second and third projects really focused on helping the homeless in Greensboro, NC and finding them safe shelters. The last project I found the most interesting. It was the idea of having a garden stand on UNCG campus to make fresh fruits and vegetables available to students. It thought this was a great idea because even outside of campus foods that are unhealthy for us are always easily available and cheaper. Foods that we should eat more of and are healthier are usually not attainable if you don't have transportation to get out to a more rural area or place that sales fresh fruits and vegetables; not to mention its more expensive.

The third presentation was by Stoel Burrowes and he discussed chairs, sustainability, and design. I learned that Stoel is a chair maker and he brought in one of the chairs that he made. The chair was a design that was inspired by the Windsor Chair which is a style of chair that came about around the 18th century. It is an inexpensive chair to make namely because the legs and the spokes in the back of the chair are duplicates. Stoel's idea was to originally to try and make the chair without any electricity and using only his tools. Eventually he did have to use some power tools to create the chair. To incorporate the idea of sustainability, one of the things discussed by him was to consider the ability to reuse the materials used to make a chair. He showed us a plastic chair with what appeared to be maybe steel tubing or some type of metal for the legs. It was pointed out that if you were to break this chair down you should understand that the plastic part of the chair is not easily disposable. If left in a land field it would probably be there one hundred years from now. Whereas the metal portion of the chair would rust and rot away in a matter of a few years.

The fourth and last presentation I went to was by Beth McGee. She talked about the Green Materials Library. The library opened in 2008 and a lot of the books and fixtures were donated by Novem Mason. The furniture in the library was donated by Natuzzi. I learned that the library has developed a very long way from where it started. Everything in the library is sustainable and green materials. They have a worksheet to make sure that what comes in is truly considered sustainable material. The books and other resources are organized under that Jackson system. They also have samples from different design vendors. On the library website you can also find these vendors and links to order samples from them. All of the resources in the library are updated every 5 years, which is great because your research and any samples you order from vendors will be current. I spoke with other students who have some experience with other design schools resource libraries and they all stated the library at IARc is truly one of the best. It was good to know that all of this information and materials are literarily at my fingertips.

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