This semester, KITE Architects is teaching as a Firm in Residence graduate studio at the School of Architecture at Roger Williams University. The graduate studio will investigate the growing crisis of dealing with our solid waste and in particular, its place within urban areas and human impact. It will focus on heightened standards for environmental responsibility and social equity.
Principals Albert Garcia, AIA and Christine M. West, AIA will lead the class to investigate the social, environmental, economic, and human factors involved in systems such as recycling, landfills and waste-to-energy facilities. The studio is tackling the urgent and real issue of these facilities in way that is not only respectful of the surrounding community and clear-eyed about the challenges but is an asset to the city and its residents.
“This studio gives us a chance to explore the ideas of how infrastructure that meets our basic needs can be designed thoughtfully with respect for our community and urban environments. We realize that the growing crisis of what to do with our trash is not a problem we can ignore, and we’d like to find ways to address the impact on our communities head-on.” – Christine West, AIA
KITE ‘s studio is part of a series that are focused on community and inspired by Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s initiative to make Providence a “City of Kindness”. Representatives from the City of Providence Planning Department and Mayor’s Office will be active participants. Using real-world projects as inspiration, they will guide students through examining the negotiation of competing stakeholders and hold a class session at a meeting of the Providence City Plan Commission to witness these dynamics in action.
“As a firm in residence, the studio has given us the opportunity to explore the symbiotic relationship between practice and academia. We get to share our insights on the demands of an architecture practice, the challenges of working on complex design projects, balancing the needs of clients and stakeholders with tight budgets and schedules. We are in turn provided with an opportunity to engage with students, to be inspired and revitalized by their energy, inquisitiveness, and the creative ethos of a graduate design studio.” – Albert Garcia, AIA
Garcia and West bring to the studio their experienced perspective and an understanding of technical considerations combined with sensitivity to human factors. West has served as Chair of the Providence City Planning Commission for 8 years. Her experience in that role will be invaluable for this studio. And Garcia has been integral in KITE’s infrastructure projects and has a depth of knowledge to share with the students.
Together, their open-minded approach to each new design challenge balances the constraints of the client, budget, and constructability, a reality that will be seriously explored by the graduate students.