Aug '08 - Jul '09
I learned last week that Cameron Sinclair would be swooping through Los Angeles to preside over reviews for an Architecture For Humanity-affiliated 4th/5th-year topic studio at USC. I had heard of this studio at the beginning of the year and I saw the shipping container being delivered a few weeks ago, but I didn't put the two together until I heard about Cameron's visit.
I stopped by the reviews yesterday afternoon to take some photos and share this project with everyone on Archinect. Cameron told me about the program - the container is to be a drop-in supply building for a school in Haiti, which was recently ravaged by hurricanes. The thought behind setting up a school as quickly as possible in this area is that by getting the children back in school, it will give their parents the opportunity to get back to work rebuilding their community. The studio was led by Scott Mitchell and assisted by Cameron's associate Nathaniel. For more information on the evolution of the project and the students' thoughts and work, check out their blog here.
Cameron surveys the group from the door of the container
image boards produced by the students explain their progress
Despite the rain and very "un-LA" temperatures, the review was well-attended and included a couple of "Hollywood types" that Cameron brought along - Steven Latham and Daphne Zuniga partnered on a documentary about the TED conference and became interested in AFH's work during that time. The latter you might remember from "Spaceballs" and can be seen in the photo below commisserating with Cameron.
The tone of the review overall was probably as laid back as I have ever seen; everyone was mostly inquisitive and glad to see academic work translating into something that can benefit humanity. This was the first real design-build studio ever held in USC's School of Architecture, and the sense of accomplishment was real amongst the students. Below, three of them (who were also in a class that I TAed last year!) pose for me and this blog: imagine T.J., Arsine, and Midori in giant welding helmets and you'll get a sense of how they spent this semester!
Here's to hoping we have more of these studios at USC!