Brown-Forman Visiting Chair in Urban Design Fall ‘08
Gary Bates of Spacegroup in Oslo was chosen to serve as the Brown Forman Visiting Chair in Urban Design for Fall semester ‘08.
The Brown Forman Visiting Chair in Urban Design is awarded to a professional designer who demonstrates a record of national achievement in the practice of architecture or urban design. The chair participates in design and research oriented projects in Louisville relative to his or her expertise.
The studio was designed according to several elements.
The first element was text. At the beginning of the studio students were asked to read Typology of a Phantom City by Alain Robbe-Grillet. Students also created a newsletter providing weekly updates on the process of their work. Jason – do you have any of these?
Efforts were also made to keep the studio both competitive and transparent. Competition is a normal part of a studio, but students kept their research transparent in order to streamline the work done in the studio.
Students had the opportunity to visit Oslo, an urban center with many similarities with Louisville, both have: a waterfront is under development; developed industrial sites; historic relations with industry; cultural amenities (Oslo has a new opera house on the waterfront); and public spaces situated on the waterfront. The trip gave the students a hands-on experience to supplement the more academic lectures. This experience liberated students to attack their research on Louisville with confidence.
Students were asked to explore “urban ruptures” in Louisville. Urban ruptures are events that produced unintended consequences to the fabric of the city. Some of these transformative events the students explored are: the presence of Ford manufacturing plants; UPS; Museum Plaza; Bardstown Road; Fourth Street Live, social shifts, such as the smoking ban; the Louisville flood which produced both safe and unsafe land; the Olmstead Park System; Butcher town; and the economic and cultural effects of WWII.
Students were asked to create “Graphical Treaties”. The students were asked to transform a philosophical treaty into a graphical one. This challenged the students to communicate a philosophical interpretation of the conditions of the site.
After a review of the many “urban ruptures” in Louisville students were asked to create a program that might help cure some of the economic and cultural ailments of
Shippingsport is just north of Museum plaza right where the rapids begin. It has a significant waterfront, former rail lines, and is connected to a shipping port that is still in use. The area is in a sort of pocket cut off from the rest of the city by the Interstate, it is rarely given any prioritization by the city and is in a state of decline. The area has a significant amount of low-income housing and industrial infrastructure that is in decline.
Shippingsport has a diverse population, a vital informal economy, and enormous vitality. The houses are quite small, there is minimal public space, the parks are often nothing but dirt. The area presents many opportunities for students to explore possible programs that can take advantage of the many post-industrial opportunities the area presents, and be of service to an underserved population.