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KCAD to Host The [re]vision Project During ArtPrize 2013

Posted September 13, 2013 in CampusArtPrize

Beginning Sept. 16, Kendall College of Art and Design will invite Grand Rapids to enter into a conversation about what an urban campus is and what it could become. The [re]vision Project is a truly collaborative design experiment that will temporarily transform the section of Pearl St. between the 17 Fountain building and the Woodbridge N. Ferris building into a dynamic green space that facilitates an organic exchange of ideas about sustainability, design thinking, and the relationship between educational institutions and their surrounding communities.

“The intersection of a college campus and an urban environment presents a variety of challenges,” said Gayle DeBruyn, chair of KCAD’s Collaborative Design program. “The [re]vision Project provides a unique and accessible platform to create dialogues and explore solutions. We want everyone to have the opportunity to explore stronger connections between campus and community.”

The green space will feature a host of natural and constructed installations designed to facilitate specific urban conversations about public transportation, bicycling, waste management, recycling and composting, sustainable design, storm water management, and food systems. Two sheds built on-site will provide a forum for group discussions and idea sharing, and The Rapid will periodically park one of its buses in the space to further facilitate conversation. In addition, KCAD professors will have the opportunity to let their classes interact with the space, which will also host a KCAD student-run free market.

Intial construction on Pearl St.

“The entire space is designed to stand out from the surrouding bustle of downtown, drawing people in both visually and intellectually,” said DeBryun. “The issues explored in this project affect everyone in our community, so we should all have a say in how they are addressed.”

The project’s mission demanded a hyper-collaborative organzational framework, which DeBryun assembled with the help of Matt VanSweden, a community and environmental advocate for Integrated Architecture who recently enrolled in KCAD’s Collaborative Design program.

“Collaborative design was how this all happened,” said VanSweden. “We engaged city staff, KCAD students, landscapers, architects, and professional contractors, not from a labor or time management perspective, but through the lens of our vision. We wanted to know what ideas they had that could make the project better.”

All organizations involved in The [re]vision Project are locally-based. Initial contributors include Integrated Architecture, Christman Construction, Summit Landscape, Nimlock Michigan, The Rapid, The Growing Frenzy, Belden Brick, Landscape Forms, West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC), Spoke Folks, Hortech Inc., and Evergreen Acres. Organizers expect additional contributors to pitch in as the project develops.

“This diversity contributes to holistic thinking within the project team,” said VanSweden. “A lot of the urban issues we are engaging with on this project are extensions of larger efforts towards sustainability and resource management. We have tried to be very intentional in including everyone that wants to participate, making it fun to engage the issues and exchange ideas.”

The organizations contributed landscape bricks, plants, rain barrels, benches, constructions materials, and most importantly, labor, all of which were instrumental to actualizing the original vision. Every effort was made to keep the project completely sustainable. All materials were either borrowed and will be returned, or were purchased and will be donated afterwards, such as the landscape materials and the two sheds, which will be donated to Habitat for Humanity when the project is taken down.

The [re]vision Project will remain up through the conclusion of ArtPrize on Oct. 6.