Urban Design Global Studio on Home and Infrastructure Resilience in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Design and business professionals and members of the public are invited to view and discuss urban design competition proposals for Puerto Rico in an exhibition and open house from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Thursday, July 11, at the Design on Main Gallery in downtown Ames.
Ten undergraduate and graduate students in the interdisciplinary URB D 502 Global Studio this summer are piloting a design competition for resilient housing and decentralized infrastructures in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to respond to both chronic and random events. The diverse studio of students from eight different countries majoring in architecture, landscape architecture, community and regional planning and urban design, is working with the University of Puerto Rico, which will hold the formal competition once the US government approves disaster funding.
Eight of the students traveled to San Juan June 16–21 to study the old city, explore the Caño Martin Peña and Rio Piedras neighborhoods and conduct interviews and analysis. The group also met with the former dean of architecture at the University of Puerto Rico to learn more about that campus’ unique architectural history and its connection to the adjacent Rio Piedras neighborhood, and with representatives of the Corporation for the Conservation of the San Juan Bay Estuary and ENLACE nonprofit organizations, who provided insight into efforts to improve social resilience in areas prone to flooding and most vulnerable to natural disasters like Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017.
The class also benefited from earlier interactions with Wes Michaels, a landscape architect with Spackman Mossop Michaels in New Orleans, who has worked with the Caño Martin Peña neighborhood for more than a decade, and ISU landscape architecture alumna Jessica Alvarez, who grew up in San Juan and highlighted the strong relationship between the culture and its beautiful natural environment.
Students will be available to discuss their work resulting from the international field trip and competition from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Thursday, July 11, in the Design on Main Gallery. If you’re unable to attend, the exhibition will continue July 12–20 with students available from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. daily.