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Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative - Academic Programs - Student Work - 2009 - Syllabus

Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative - Academic Programs - Student Work - 2009 - Syllabus

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Arch 66995: community Design [BuilD] chArrette

The Bridge Project
Reclaiming the Detroit-Superior Bridge for Public Use
Fall Semester 2009

We must put all the resources of the world into a fluid, fluctuating, mobile state so that nothing exists that we have to try to get rid of. –Buckminster Fuller


terry schwarz – (216) 357-3426 – tschwarz@kent.edu David Jurca – (216) 357-3438 – djurca@kent.edu

The community design [build] charrette will take place during the first few weeks of the fall 2009 semester. in this course, you will be asked to consider the role of infrastructure in a depopulating city. cleveland has far more roads, sewers, and power lines than are needed to meet the demands of our current population. case in point, the Detroit superior Bridge (aka the Veteran’s memorial Bridge or the high level Bridge). This massive two-level bridge across the cuyahoga river was the biggest structure of its kind 100 years ago. originally, the top level was used for cars and pedestrians, while the bottom level was for streetcars. The streetcar line was closed in 1954 and the lower level has not been used since. What remains is a vast, cathedral-like space suspended over the river with views of the industrial valley, downtown, and the Flats. on september 25-26, 2009, we’re going to re-open the lower level to the public. your role is to develop a program and a range of temporary uses for the bridge that will enable this vestigial space to function as a community resource. The charrette is a design/build exercise. you will have two weeks to develop schematic designs. Then we will select the most compelling ideas and construct them rapidly, full-scale at the bridge. The two-day bridge event will include installations and performances by local artists. event partners include the ingenuity Festival , sPAces gallery, the cuyahoga rAP, cleveland Public Art, and the Flats-oxbow Association. you will collaborate with artists and other community stakeholders as you develop your design concepts. During the event, you will have an opportunity to observe the ways that people inhabit your design interventions. you will interact directly with the public as a way to evaluate whether your work is successful.

Jet Lowe, Historic American Engineering Record, 1978; Arches of the Detroit-Superior Bridge, c. 1940 Cleveland State University Library Special Collections

Postcard of High Level (Detroit-Superior) Bridge Cleveland State University Library Special Collections


Multi-disciplinary design: The charrette will improve your design skills and help you learn how to apply what you know to real and sometimes vaguely-defined problems. The emphasis is on collaborating with people from other disciplines and developing an appreciation for cross-disciplinary contributions in design. Community process: The charrette will test your ability to reconcile the competing (and often conflicting) preferences and priorities of community stakeholders. Service-learning: The charrette will enable you to consider the ways that your design decisions impact the people who inhabit the places you create. you will gain a better understanding of your role as a designer in a community context.

The charrette is a brief and intense design exercise. you will need to consider time constraints in determining the nature of your design interventions and your methods for implementation. We have a (modest) construction budget and support staff to assist with the implementation phase of the exercise. Week 1 (Aug 31-sept 4) introduction to the project; tour of the bridge; development of design program Week 2 (sept 8 -sept 11) Development of design concepts Week 3 (sept 14-18) Design concepts due; selection of projects for construction; construction logistics Week 4 (sept 21-26) construction; event – sept. 25 & 26

Lower deck of the Detroit Superior Bridge shortly after construction, 1916. Cleveland State University Library Special Collections


The charrette will occur simultaneously with the fall design studio. We will coordinate assignments and deadlines between the two courses to eliminate the potential for conflicts. The staff of the cuDc will be your partners for this project. in the months leading up to the charrette, cuDc staff will survey existing conditions, conduct stakeholder interviews, coordinate with event partners, and prepare a range of preliminary programmatic alternatives for the bridge. The staff will work with you throughout the design and construction process.
Grading and expectations

Attendance is mandatory at the charrette event on sept. 25-26, 2009. grading will be based on participation, process, and presentation. resourcefulness will be more important than carpentry skills, although both are useful in this exercise.

Peter Arlt, “urban Planning and interim use;” Klaus ronneberger, “From regulation to moderation;” robert temel, “The temporary in the city;” Florian hayden, “A material that never comes to rest: concepts and Potentials of temporary spaces;” mirko Pogoreutz, “urban intelligence;” and elke Krasny, “spaces for Action and for laughing too: on the Public effect of Participation in urban spaces;” in Temporary Urban Spaces. Florian hadyn, robert temel, eds. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2006. pp. 39-92. michael hirsch, “The space of community: Between culture and Politics,” in Did Someone say Participate? An Atlas of Spatial Practice. markus miessen and shumon Basar, eds. cambridge: The mit Press, 2006. pp.290-304. terry schwarz and steve rugare, eds. Pop up city. cleveland urban Design collaborative, Kent state university 2009.

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