Courier News: Revitalizing Four Urban Landscapes

By MIKE DANAHEY mdanahey@stmedianetwork.com

ELGIN — On Monday, nine grad students in Judson University’s architecture program presented their vision of how to revitalize four urban landscapes by connecting the spaces in question to the cities’ rich pasts.

Their work, on display in the Harm A. Weber Academic Center, was part of the Traditional Architecture and Urbanism final salon. Professor and graduate coordinator Christopher Miller said the projects included “five students re-urbanizing what has been called the nation’s worst public plaza in Boston, two working on the waterfront in historic Annapolis (Maryland), one looking at Chelsea, London, and another Fez, Morocco.”

“The buildings seek to be good urban buildings — mixed-use, public spaces, eyes on the street, accessing the sun for light and comfort, and respecting local traditions — that are also culturally and resource sustainable, and even beautiful,” Miller said.

Grad student Sam Lima focused on the Chelsea Barracks, which is a 14-acre empty lot in London. His designs work “to integrate the area into the neighborhood,” Lima said. Lima has been in touch with people in England about his ideas for redevelopment. And he is heading to South Bend, Ind., next fall for postgraduate work at Notre Dame.

Classmate Jessica Otte already is working for Meyer Design in West Chicago. Her project looked at turning what once was a river and is now a street and parking lot into a school in Fez, a city which dates to 789 A.D.

According to Miller, the salon was “an opportunity for architects, academics of other stripes, experts in other fields of work, including family and friends, to engage these students directly, substantively or not, in a more casual, celebratory but no less important atmosphere.”

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