Student Work - 2009

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.