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Sculptural milk-crate installation highlights public engagement strategies

09/29/21

AMES, Iowa — Members of the Iowa State University community likely are familiar with the large, blue metal “Sequence” sculpture in front of the College of Design building on the west side of campus. Now, a team of students led by Chad Hunter, a lecturer in landscape architecture and outreach studio manager for the Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program, has installed another blue sculpture, “Threshold” — a public engagement tool that will be on display over the next two weeks.

“Threshold: A Portal to Engaged Participation” is a project developed to explore more innovative strategies for creating greater awareness and participation in the community design process. Constructed of dark blue milk crates, the sculptural installation was a student-driven effort from conception to implementation, Hunter said. First designed for Calamus, Iowa, as a landmark for the thousands of riders along the RAGBRAI route this past summer, “Threshold” was then installed in Princeton, Iowa’s riverfront park to attract participants to a Community Visioning design charrette during the town’s SummerFest.

“The milk crates provide us with an inexpensive, simple module that is highly versatile and flexible to meet different needs in the communities we work with,” said Hunter, who is also a design fellow with the ISU Community Design Lab. “They are easy to set up and take down, while durable enough to remain in the landscape for a longer period, increasing public interest.”

Landscape architecture graduate student Hossein Entezari, from Tehran, Iran, served as the student project lead; Community Visioning interns from landscape architecture, architecture and interior design comprised the design team.

Banners on the structure’s columns provide a more detailed story of the Community Visioning process, new engagement tools that pull from tactical urbanism strategies and the “Threshold” project itself. The installation in front of the Design building is intended to highlight the innovative and collaborative work being done by students, faculty and staff in the College of Design with other campus departments and units, nonprofit organizations, and industry and community partners.

Contacts

Chad Hunter, Community Visioning Program, cahunter@iastate.edu
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, 515-294-9289, hsauer@iastate.edu

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September 29, 2021 7:14 pm