Hosted by the AIA Minnesota Housing Advocacy Committee, this design charrette took place at the University of Minnesota Campus -- in the Rapson Hall (the Architecture Dept.) It has been running for 27 years as a free design charrette for local non-profit development groups and low-income housing organizations in the Minneapolis/St. Paul community. Several groups of roughly 8-10 designers/architects addressed projects of varying degrees and used a weekend in February to draw and present options to clients that could use free design help and communicate the idea of thoughtful design to their represented environments in question.
Our specific crew was assigned the Native American community in southeast Minneapolis, named Little Earth. This community has been in place for decades as an integrating transition neighborhood for those of Native American background that have also had problems resulting from economic blight and social persecution and segregation. Currently the area consists of HUD housing, single family homes, and a few offices and community spaces. However, they are looking to improve some of the homes to be a little more up-to-date and provide the families with dwellings that are of overall higher quality -- cleaner and healthier.
Our design moves focused on a couple of ideas to that would help their situation in a way that would bring a stronger public identity to the community and neighborhood improvements that would help correspond with the new construction and rehabilitation they already plan on implementing with the housing structures on the site. This idea of cohesive neighborhood and clean environment would help improve the users sense of place while also being a reasonable monetary investment in a destitute area. Also, to supplement this upgrade in identity we suggested a design for an outdoor multi-use open air space, that would act as a frame for future markets and other gatherings, and metaphorically bridge the connection between this community and the grander scene of south Minneapolis. This we hope would be a good place to start with giving the people of the neighborhood with an identifier for their community, and also present a face of economic and cultural engagement to the surrounding context.
Location: Minneapolis, MN, US
My Role: Designe Crew Member
Additional Credits: Crew Leaders: Rosemary D. Dolata and Hans J. Schmidt