Post-Traumatic Design: How to Design Our Schools to Heal Past Wounds and Prevent Future Violence

01:00 - 24 January, 2013
Rendering for the New Utoya Project in Norway, which will re-design the Utøya Island where the 2011 massacre took place. Image courtesy of Fantastic Norway.
Rendering for the New Utoya Project in Norway, which will re-design the Utøya Island where the 2011 massacre took place. Image courtesy of Fantastic Norway.

Over a month has passed since the Sandy Hook tragedy. Its surviving students have gone back to school, albeit at another facility (decorated with old posters to make it feel familiar), and are working on putting this tragic event behind them. The nation is similarly moving on - but this time, with an eye to action. 

The goal is obvious: to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again. The means, less so. While President Obama’s recent gun control policy offers some solutions, it’s by no means the only way. Indeed, opinions vary - from clamping down on gun control, to better addressing the root cause of mental illness, to even arming teachers in the classroom.

The design world has similarly contributed to the debate. A recent article in ArchRecord questioned how, in the wake of Sandy Hook, we should design our schools: “While fortress-like buildings with thick concrete walls, windows with bars, and special security vestibules may be more defensible than what is currently in vogue, they are hardly the kind of places that are optimal for learning.”Indeed, turning a school into a prison would be the design equivalent of giving a teacher a rifle. You would, of course, have a more “secure” environment - but at what cost?

As America and the world considers how we can move on after these traumas, I’d like to take a moment to consider what role design could play. If the answer is not to turn our schools into prisons, then what is? Can design help address the root causes of violence and make our schools less vulnerable to tragedy? If so, how?

The Indicator: Architecture and Crime

00:00 - 24 January, 2013
© Did Zaha copy herself? Courtesy, ZHA
© Did Zaha copy herself? Courtesy, ZHA

From the recent information overload concerning Zaha Hadid’s Wangjing Soho being pirated in China, one might think that copying was a new phenomenon in architecture. Is this really that shocking or even worth mentioning? 

It must be because, for the next few hundred words or so, I’m going to be mentioning it quite a bit. Copying can be a complicated issue. In Western culture, in particular, the status of the copy is fraught with contradictions. It is a problem that has existed since long before Walter Benjamin wrote about it in “The Work of Art in the Age of the Mechanical Reproduction”. 

The Design Implications of President Obama's Commitment to Climate Change and Sustainable Energy

00:00 - 24 January, 2013
January 21, 2013, Inaugural Speech; Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson
January 21, 2013, Inaugural Speech; Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

This past Monday, President Obama made climate change and sustainable energy the focal points of his Inaugural Address when he declared that choosing to ignore these key environmental issues "would betray our children and future generations." This is the first time in the last few months that the President has taken a firm stand for the future of our Earth, a direct result of Super Storm Sandy and a smart choice to reveal controversial policies only after re-election. Although Monday morning was not the time to outline a specific political strategy, President Obama made it very clear that this time around, denial of scientific judgment and Congressional opposition would not be reasons for failure to act.

While this is a sentiment easier said than done and there is doubtlessly a long and difficult road ahead for the President and his administration. The White House has revealed that it plans to focus on what it can do to capitalize on natural gas production as an alternative to coal, on "reducing emissions from power plants, [increasing] the efficiency of home appliances and [on having] the federal government itself produce less carbon pollution" (NYTimes). According to the New York Times, they aim to adopt new energy efficiency standards for not only home appliances but for buildings as well, something that should spark the interests of architects and urban planners already committed to designing with climate change and sustainable energy in mind.

More after the break...

Sea City Museum / Wilkinson Eyre Architects

01:00 - 24 January, 2013
© Luke Hayes
© Luke Hayes

© Luke Hayes © Luke Hayes © Luke Hayes © Luke Hayes +15

Kurt Geiger Headquarters Building / Archer Architects

01:00 - 24 January, 2013
© Tim Soar
© Tim Soar

© Tim Soar © Tim Soar © Tim Soar © Tim Soar +24

House of Would / Elii

01:00 - 24 January, 2013
© Miguel de Guzmán
© Miguel de Guzmán

© Miguel de Guzmán © Miguel de Guzmán © Miguel de Guzmán © Miguel de Guzmán +19

The Grove at Grand Bay / BIG

01:00 - 24 January, 2013
Courtesy of BIG
Courtesy of BIG
  • Architects

  • Location

    COCONUT GROVE, MIAMI, FL, USA
  • Architect in Charge

    Bjarke Ingels, Thomas Christoffersen
  • Design Team

    Tiago Barros, Jitendra Jain, Brian Foster, Ed Yung, Terrence Chew, Ji-Young Joon, Kasper Hansen, Chris Malcolm, Alana Goldweit, Martin Voelkle, Greg Knobloch, Ho Kyung Lee, Mina Rafiee, Cat Huang, Maureen McGee, Chris Falla, Valerie Lechene
  • Project Leaders

    Leon Rost, Ziad Shehab
  • Area

    58,900 sqm
  • Project Year

    2014
  • Photographs

    Courtesy of BIG

Courtesy of BIG Courtesy of BIG Courtesy of BIG Courtesy of BIG +59

MCC House / Seijo Peon Arquitectos

01:00 - 24 January, 2013
© Tamara Uribe
© Tamara Uribe
  • Architects Office

  • Location

    Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico
  • Architect

    Juan Carlos Seijo Encalada
  • Collaborators

    Juan Pablo Cantón, Manuel Fuentes, Claudina Peon
  • Area

    543.75 sqm
  • Year

    2010
  • Photographs

© Tamara Uribe © Tamara Uribe © Tamara Uribe © Tamara Uribe +23

Brotherton Barn / The Anderson Orr Partnership

01:00 - 24 January, 2013
© David Stewart
© David Stewart

© David Stewart © David Stewart © David Stewart © David Stewart +34

Chicago's Cook County Aims to Eradicate Demolition Waste

00:00 - 24 January, 2013
Image via Cook County
Image via Cook County

Cook County, Illinois, recently brought the elimination of construction waste to a new level by creating the first demolition debris ordinance in the Midwest. This groundbreaking ordinance requires most of the debris created from demolition to be recycled and reused instead of being sent to the landfill. The ordinance helps contribute to Cook County’s zero waste goal, part of the Solid Waste Plan Update.

The new law states that at least 7 percent of suburban construction and demolition debris must be recycled, and an additional 5 percent must be reused on residential properties. This new legislation will have a great impact as it affects about 2.5 million suburban Cook County residents.

More after the break...

House in Villarcayo / Pereda Pérez Arquitectos

01:00 - 24 January, 2013
© Pedro Pegenaute
© Pedro Pegenaute
  • Architects Office

  • Location

    Villarcayo, Burgos, Spain
  • Architects

    Carlos Pereda Iglesias, Óscar Pérez Silanes
  • Collaborators

    Teresa Gridilla Saavedra
  • Rigger

    Rodrigo Fernández Bárcena
  • Area

    206.31 sqm
  • Year

    2012
  • Photography

© Pedro Pegenaute © Pedro Pegenaute © Pedro Pegenaute © Pedro Pegenaute +11

Architecture of Necessity 2013 Competition

23:00 - 23 January, 2013
Courtesy of Virserum Art Museum
Courtesy of Virserum Art Museum

All professionally active individuals or legal persons such builders, architectural bureaus, local government, construction firms, or other companies are invited to submitted projects for the Architecture of Necessity 2013 Competition dated between 2010 and 2013, whether they have been built or not. The submitted material must include a short text describing the project in relation to the Architecture of Necessity, which espouses the values of being responsible, diligent, sustainable, just, and open. Entries should be submitted to Virserum Art Museum no later than February 15. For more information, please visit here.

Jinan Contemporary Art Museum Proposal / United Design Group

11:00 - 23 January, 2013
Courtesy of United Design Group
Courtesy of United Design Group

Designed by United Design Group (UDG China), their proposal for the Contemporary Art Museum faces the main artery crossing the city of Jinan east to west. With the ambition to become the landmark of this urban sector, the first step of the process was to establish a relationship with the existing buildings; the main idea was to complete the sequence of boxes, maintaining the symmetry of the system. More images and architects’ description after the break.

'The Cultured Landscape' Transiting Cities Competition Entry / NAAU

07:00 - 23 January, 2013
Courtesy of NAAU
Courtesy of NAAU

Designed by NAAU for the Australian ‘Transiting Cities’ competition, their Cultured Landscape proposal examines generative strategies for re-purposing the region, which is currently a center of brown coal fired power production, into a center of clean energy research and development, sustainable agriculture and eco-tourism. Drawing on an analysis of the existing agglomeration of towns, roads, infrastructure, and social and cultural sites, the project is configured around a generative network that will act as a growth structure for the future development of the region. More images and architects’ description after the break.

NAAS Springs - FFA Proposal / Hapsitus Architects

03:00 - 23 January, 2013
Courtesy of Hapsitus Architects
Courtesy of Hapsitus Architects

The design proposal for NAAS Springs, a well-known wellness center and place of relaxation in Beirut, is formed by a series of walls projecting into nature. They alternate between large living spaces with roofs for residences and uncovered elongated spaces for the passages, which form an extension of nature. Designed by Hapsitus Architects, the architectural landscape is created in the spirit of water following down a sloped terrain. More images and architects’ description after the break.

AWP to announce masterplan for La Défense

00:00 - 23 January, 2013
Courtesy of Theresa Simon & Partners
Courtesy of Theresa Simon & Partners

La Défense, Paris’ major business district, is about to undergo a transformation with the help of Paris architecture firm AWP. AWP’s plan was presented to government agencies EPADESA and DEFACTO as well as local communities in November 2012, but will be released to the public for the first time in March. The proposed plan not only updates and adds to the current site: it rethinks and reevaluates what already exists. More on the plan after the break.

Sushi-teria / form-ula

01:00 - 23 January, 2013
© Barkow Photo
© Barkow Photo
  • Architects

  • Location

    601 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022, USA
  • Design Team

    Ajmal Aqtash, Richard Sarrach, Tamaki Uchikawa
  • Fabrication Team

    Tai-Li Lee, Brian Chu, Zack Fine, Arianna Lebed, Andrew Reitz, David Kim
  • Collaborators

    Sebastian Misiurek
  • Contractor

    John Gallin & Son
  • Area

    1,000 ft2
  • Project Year

    2012
  • Photographs

© Barkow Photo © Barkow Photo © Barkow Photo © Barkow Photo +11

Chesapeake Child Development Center / Elliott + Associates Architects

01:00 - 23 January, 2013
© Scott McDonald © Hedrich Blessing
© Scott McDonald © Hedrich Blessing

© Scott McDonald © Hedrich Blessing © Scott McDonald © Hedrich Blessing © Scott McDonald © Hedrich Blessing © Scott McDonald © Hedrich Blessing +20