A couple of years ago I was invited to sit in on a jury crit (that’s “critique” for those not in the know) for one of the University of Florida graduate architecture studios. Their studio project was based in Jacksonville and they wanted local architects and designers to come down and offer their local perspective and expertise to the critique. Now running for the 4th or 5th year is time again for the UF Jacksonville Studio headed up by Professor Michael Kuenstle, AIA and sponsored by AIA Jacksonville.
This year we’ll be critiquing undergraduate students in their 4th year who will be preparing to move on to their graduate studies. The project in question is described in brief below:
“design studio course will focus on developing speculative design proposals for a modestly scaled 10 to 12 unit urban infill housing project located in the Springfield District of downtown Jacksonville, Florida. A primary goal for the student design proposals will include developing a careful site design strategy incorporating ideas concerning the relationship of the building intervention to the immediate physical site, the aesthetic/symbolic relationship to the cultural and historic context, and the programmatic experience of public/private space relative to domesticity within the urban environment.
Each year the Mellon C. Greeley, AIA Foundation, Inc., the AIA Jacksonville Education Foundation, provides a generous scholarship stipend for students participating in this unique design studio course. As part of the educational experience, participating students will have the opportunity to interact with prominent Jacksonville architects, city officials, and community business leaders during class field trips, project site visits, and on formal reviews in Jacksonville and Gainesville.”
This week, January 11th, was the first class meeting and site visit. Also at this event, there were two distinguished speakers who gave interesting perspectives on both the history and future of Springfield. The first presentation, by Dr. Wayne Wood, was a history of Springfield and of downtown Jacksonville. Here are some images from the presentation. Please forgive the quality. All I had was my iPhone.
Dr. Wayne Wood has also written and co-written several books on the subject of Jacksonville and her architecture. He’s also the founding member of the Riverside Avondale Preservation Association and is responsible for saving many of our most beautiful homes in the area.
The second presentation marked hope for a change in the architectural aesthetic of our city. Jason Fisher and Greg Beere, of Content Design Group, presented their project for a single family home on Walnut Street in the Springfield Historic District. The project is a new modern residence sandwiched between two historic homes. The project is very modern in design and construction, but is in keeping with the proportions, materials, colors and context of it’s historic surroundings. This project has also been approved by our local historic boards and meets the requirements of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Guidelines, no easy task for a modern home. Here are some images of the presentation. Take a trip to their website to see the full presentation and design images.
This year’s UF Jacksonville Studio is presenting the students with some unique design challenges both for the building itself, but also in urban planning. I’m anxious to see the directions each student takes in their design solutions for this project. I’ll be following up this post with one from the midterm critique as well as the final presentation in Gainesville. Stay tuned.