December 2009 Archives

Drift House - Shelter in transition

By: Marc Swackhammer, University of Minnesota; Blair Setterfield, Rice University; Pat McGlothlin; Aaron Davis.

This small project is a temporary homeless shelter sited in an existing building in the "Bowery" neighborhood of Manhattan. The building has common bathrooms and showers on each of its nine floors. A program brief from First Step Housing, Common Ground community, and The Architectural League of New York asked SLV Design to design, detail, and provide technical specifications and accurate cost estimates for 146 new housing units within this existing building. The units were to be 60 - 88 square feet with a minimum of 19 units per floor. The brief charged us with considering the units as glorified pieces of furniture: brought to the site in a nearly complete stage, set in place, and assembled. Other programmatic and technical requirements included:

Read this article in its entirety on page 68.


A day in the life of Drifthouse.

SHIMS - Storage and Housing in Motion

By: William Dohlman, Alumnus, University of Minnesota

This thesis changes the face of the rigid urban landscape through the development of small, temporary structures that support the transient populace. Architecture alone cannot solve the social problems of homelessness, but the lack of public amenities, storage, and shelters is one that we as architects cannot overlook. This series of small support structures evolved from a desire to resolve the difference between the city's static architectural fabric and the transient nature of the homeless population and experience. In reaction to the existing, immovable structures that define our urban experience, SHIMS adapt to the ever-changing needs of the city to provide adequate storage, shelter, and other services for the numerous displaced individuals that call the streets their home. Because SHIMS are unanchored structures, their total number in any given context could change according to the specific needs of a city or neighborhood. My goal is not to just provide support for the transient population, but to extend the urban fabric to the city's left-over or undefined spaces. As the empty spaces contract within the city, SHIMS will be able to contract in location, number, and program as well. Read this article in its entirety on page 72.


SHIM design

William Dohlman is a recent graduate of the Master of Architecture program
at the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the
University of Minnesota.

By: Edward G. Goetz, Associate Dean for Academics, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute

Heritage Park is one of Minneapolis' newest and largest residential districts. When finished it will be a community of 800 units of new housing, ornamented by a parkway cutting through its center, and spread over 73 acres of land less than one mile from the central business district of Minneapolis. Ten years ago the land was home to four different public housing projects, concentrating more than 900 very low-income families together on one site. When Heritage Park is complete the transformation of the area will be both physical and social; the old housing has been demolished and new streets, new structures and even a new creek will replace them. Similarly, the low-income residents who used to live there have been moved away, and they will be replaced by a mix of households across the economic spectrum. This transformation was brought about by a class-action lawsuit (Hollman v. Cisneros), filed by Legal Aid and the NAACP on behalf of the public housing residents alleging discrimination in the concentrating of public housing in the city's predominantly black north side neighborhood. The Hollman case was settled by a consent decree in 1995 that called for the redevelopment that has resulted in Heritage Park. Read this article in its entirety on page 76.


Heritage Park 2004, very close to the city's downtown, yet cut off by the freeway to the railroad tracks and parking garages.

Edward Goetz, a professor and Associate Dean for Academics at the Hubert
H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, has recently released a book
entitled Clearing the Way: Deconcentrating the Poor in Urban America.

By: Elizabeth McCollough, Graduate Student, University of Minnesota

One of the greatest social problems existing today could be solved with the help of the design professions. Homelessness, according to the U.S. government, is the biggest crisis facing America, as a persistent and growing problem. This problem, which crosses all ages, ethnicities, religions and income brackets, is growing at an alarming rate. By some estimates, over one quarter of the population, covering a broad-cross section of
the nation, is affected by homelessness. Yet the design professions, which some consider best equipped to reverse these trends, have stood nearly silent on this matter. Because the issues involved with homelessness stretch across many disciplines, it is imperative that urban designers, architects, landscape architects and city planners, begin to work together to envision solutions to the housing crisis. Read this article in its entirety on page 82.


New housing options include multi use structures that allow for residents to live above where they work.

Elizabeth McCollough is a thesis student in the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota.

By: Cassie Neu Colin Kloecker
Architecture for Humanity-MN

Architecture for Humanity (AFH) has found its way to Minnesota. Founded by seven individuals with varying design backgrounds and driven by shared passion and dedication, the Minnesota Chapter of Architecture for Humanity (AFH MN) upholds the same message to which its founders, Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr, originally committed themselves: "To promote architectural and design solutions to global, social and humanitarian crises." Read this article in its entirety on page 87.


Cameron Sinclair at AFH-MN's meeting place, Anodyne Cafe in South Minneapolis. Featured left, clockwise, are Nancy Grist-Franchett, Cameron Sinclair, Kathryn Matenson, Maureen Ness and Cassie Neu.

Cassie Neu is a landscape designer with LHB in Minneapolis. She joined AFH MN because of her passion for design as a means to help people. Her design philosophy is focused on restorative community design.

By: William Welsh, Graduate Student, University of Minnesota

The Minnesota Twins believe that they need new baseball stadium. The most likely site
for the proposed stadium is in Rapid Park, northwest of the Target Center, butting up against the Covanta Waste-to-Energy Facility, between 5th and 7th Streets. The stadium represents an enormous potential change to an area that has always been the backdoor to downtown Minneapolis. Here, large, inexpensive pieces of property have attracted those things that are utilitarian, unsightly, and regrettably quite necessary. This is the place where w e house the homeless, it is where we recycle our waste, and it is the place where we build the infrastructure of downtown. This place accommodates those things that we don't want to see (or smell) resulting from our consumer driven society. Read this article in its entirety (page 91).

Thumbnail image for stadium.jpg

Twinsville masterplan showing Bassett Creek uncovered and the variety of buildings planned.

William Welsh is a thesis student in the College of Architecture and Landscape
Architecture at the University of Minnesota.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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