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Practical Place-Making

Date: November 20, 2013

by Eloise Ravell

On Thursday, Nov. 7, students in the Andrews University place making studio class had the opportunity to present their ideas for the redesign of the front grounds of the Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph, Mich. Special guest Lorna Jordan spoke on the principles and philosophy of place making that have influenced her award-winning projects throughout the United States.

Julia Gourley, executive director of the Krasl Art Center, contacted Mark Moreno, associate professor of architecture at Andrews, asking for input on how to make the front plaza more of a place to gather casually with friends and wondered if the architecture students would be interested in working on it as a class project.

The project served as a way to generate ideas for the Krasl to encourage passersby to congregate at the plaza by using the principles of place making. The students worked in pairs for a total of nine projects that all included a 24” x 36” perspective drawing which gives an experiential view, much like a photograph. Also included was a section drawing, or a vertical cut through the side to look at the design sideways.

A month into the semester, the students received positive reviews from the architect and interior designer, Joe and Tracy Self, and from local landscape architect Kathy Weycamp. Furthermore, Tami Miller, curator of exhibitions, collections and education at the Krasl, worked with students to edit the projects and ready them for the showing.

“All of the students are very enthusiastic about the project and it shows in the quality of their work,” shares Moreno.

Encouraging, Iconic and Museum Quality are the three criteria that the Krasl looks for when curating art. Students incorporated these ideals when redesigning the site, attempting to transfer the cramped, tucked-away space into an inviting patio that spills onto the street and allows for performance space and areas to sit and relax.

Lorna Jordan, environmental artist and landscape designer, spoke at the presentation to the public and the students about designing the reconfiguration of a space. The forum included an opportunity for the public to ask students about difficulties they ran into while designing the space and about how their designs will be an improvement to the Art Center.

Free and open to the public, the exhibition is currently hosted at the Krasl’s art lab and the projects will be on display until January 12, 2014. The Andrews University community is encouraged to come and experience what the students have been working on.

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Berrien Springs, Michigan 49104