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Reflective structure created by Master of Architecture students

Photo credit: Downtown Winnipeg Biz

M.Arch Students Meet Challenge of Placemaking

October 11, 2022 — 

How can you turn the world upside down? reflect a city in a threshold? and map everything that’s delicious? Simple! Challenge architecture students to make timely and engaging public places – in two weeks, with two grand!

This was the challenge presented by Storefront Manitoba and Urban Idea as part of the 2022 Creative Placemaking Challenge. Open to all designers, the seven winning projects included three projects by current Master of Architecture students: Hyeonji (Angie) Kwon, Tara Fuller and Jeramee Fajardo. Installed in Old Market Square form October 6-13, alongside “Fireside” by Winnipeg artist Jonathan S. Green, the trio of student works presented playful and provocative experiments on the potential of design to create public engagement.

 

Crevice of Time

 

The installation by Hyeonji (Angie) Kwon, entitled “In the Crevice of Time” brings the outside inside with a narrow outdoor room constructed of wood 2×2’s and roofing felt. Built as dark room, with doorways at each end, the tunnel-like space performs as a series of camera obscuras, or pinhole cameras. As visitors walk through, they activate a mechanism with orange ping-pong balls, which opens an eyelid-shutter, exposing small openings that emit light and magically create a montage of six inverted images of the outside scene on the inside wall.

“The objective was to create a space activated by walking and pauses. Walking is at the heart of urban experience. As we walk, the city transforms, challenging the perception that architecture is stable and intractable. “In the crevice of time” walking is a catalyst that cracks time with pauses that in turn reveal movement.” – Hyeonji (Angie) Kwon

 

Reflecting House

 

Tara Fuller’s “Reflecting House” consisted of interlocking walls made from recycled hollow core doors, covered in mirrors and configured as a series of thresholds with an inner infinity room. The deceptively simple arrangement made kaleidoscopic spaces that were simultaneously intimate between the walls, and expansive through a collage of reflections.

“My intention was to create an interactive spatial experience that disrupted perceptions. The installation blurred boundaries of public and private space, the self and the city. It was especially activated by movement. As one passes through, the mirrored reflections change and mix, mingling individuals with their surroundings… As soon as the mirrors went up, people came. Kids played between the mirrors; teenagers ran back and forth; dogs dragged their owners into it; people on cell phones detoured through it without pausing; passersby casually adjusted their clothing in the mirror; dancers used it as a stage set for improv; and there were lots of selfies. It was exciting to see people drawn to it so naturally, and in so many different ways.” – Tara Fuller

 

City Menu

City Menu by Jeramee Fajardo offers a blank canvas – in the form of a giant chalk board – for the public to leave recommendations on their favorite dining establishments. The menu includes prompts for suggestions and categories of savory places, from “fine dining” to “quick bites” and “guilty pleasures.” Triangular side bars give diner-like places for pedestrians to chat or have a quick bite to eat. Sited at the Exchange District’s most visible and busy corner with food trucks and cafés nearby, it became a gateway and a billboard to Old Market Square, recalling history, amplifying the present, and imagining the future.

“City Menu asks: what does the city find delicious? It highlights the growing gastronomic scene in Winnipeg through an unfiltered and spontaneous dialogue with the people. It asks the public to curate the taste of the city and proliferate more diverse flavours.” – Jeramee Fajardo

 

Getting into rhythm of design-build

For these students, and many of their classmates collaborating on the installation, this was a first-time hands-on full-scale building experience. This physical and public engagement was all the more thrilling after two years of online learning.

 

 

“A new avenue of thinking opened up when I began to build full scale. The work came together with quick and in-depth studies, modelmaking, problem-solving ‘eureka’ moments, and the help of many mentors and friends.” – Hyeonji (Angie) Kwon

“It was very challenging and very rewarding! The opportunity to bring an idea into reality is rare as a student. The fast timeline forced us to make quick decisions at every stage. Seeing it come to life over such a short span was amazing.” – Tara Fuller

“The whole process was quick and a bit hectic. But I’m so grateful for the opportunity because it’s allowed me to design in a completely new way and I learned greatly from it.” – Jeramee Fajardo

 

Time Machines and Future Machinations

Created as a preliminary assignment in Studio Tempo (it’s about time), a graduate architecture studio led by Lisa Landrum and Ted Landrum, these public placemaking projects investigated temporality and ephemeral events as permanent conditions of a city. The quick installations are just the beginning of a year-long studio to design “Quality Time Institutes” for the Exchange District.

“I think of time as fragments and ephemerality. For me, the experiential qualities of the installation arose through movement, perceptual shifts, passageways and reflection. “Reflecting House” showed that design doesn’t need to be complicated to be engaging.” – Tara Fuller

“Moving forward, I plan to create spaces that heal dramatic generational fractures. The last few years have been challenging to maintain family connections with loved ones overseas. Reflecting on my own family experience, I aim to design an assisted living home for the elderly to naturally create a healthy digression of quality time and fill the last years of one’s life with wonderful memories.” – Hyeonji (Angie) Kwon

“From this experience, I learned that letting go of control is a critical aspect in designing for the public. The people come first. What I’ve learned about the public’s taste for food will help me engage the relationship between food, society and architecture for my design thesis.” – Jeramee Fajardo

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Special thanks to Storefront Manitoba, and to all other members of Studio Tempo who participated in the collaborative hands-on work: Vienna Castanaga, Daniella Fernandez Romero, Mahbod Noroozi Babasheikhali, Emma Onchulenko, Paul Valencia, Yi Wang, and Kendra Wile.

 

For the full list of Placemaking Challenge winners and more on StorefrontMB, visit: https://www.storefrontmb.ca/cpc

Feature Photo Credit: Downtown Winnipeg Biz

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