1. Garden State Great.
For 34 years, the members who comprise Vernacular Architecture Forum (VAF)—architects, historians, folklorists, and archaeologists—have called much-needed attention to the ordinary buildings and landscapes that we tend to take for granted: houses, storefronts, corn cribs, and other types—all of which represent evidence of regional building traditions, material innovations, and long-invisible communities that once thrived. This year, VAF goes to southern New Jersey—far from the political antics of Trenton—to examine the Pine Barrens, Delaware Bay shoreline, and beach communities from Cape May to Atlantic City.
Learn more at vernaculararchitectureforum.org.
2. Building Bridges
The idea of a resilient city centers on adaptability and smart planning, but there are competing plans for getting there. Is there a middle ground? On May 8–9, UMass Boston’s Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities After Disasters, Boston Architectural College, and the School of Architecture, Art, and Historic Preservation at Roger Williams University will host “Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Sustainable Reconstruction” to answer that question.
Learn more at umb.edu/crscad.
Erin Besler is all about iterations. Or is she about all iterations? Starting with the 14 layered, colored-paper collages that Peter Eisenman, FAIA, produced for House VI (1975), Besler created 42 analytical drawings that suss out the spaces that Eisenman’s collages suggest. Besler produced the drawings with broken-tipped felt pens, from which her project, Low Fidelity, gets its name. She then carved 48 foam versions, 34 of which are axonometric sculptures, and drew 412 “translations” based on the original 14 collages. Is it iterative overkill? Or, just the tip of the analytical iceberg? Find out on May 19 when Besler, an AIA Henry Adams Medal recipient and current teaching fellow at UCLA’s School of Architecture & Urban Design, will present Low Fidelity and other research projects in a lecture at UCLA A.UD.
To learn more, visit aud.ucla.edu.
4. Discover Design
You don’t need to be Carnac the Magnificent to see how project-based learning and collaboration in secondary education is naturally aligned with architectural practice. The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Discover Design program promotes architectural awareness and design problem-solving skills in the two ways that matter most: among high schoolers who want to know more about architecture, and digitally with discoverdesign.org’s sharing options. Last year’s Discover Design challenge was a library; this year it’s a school athletic facility. Finalists are due to be announced the week of May 25.
Learn more at discoverdesign.org.
5. Space City Cycling
The Heights, Houston’s first mixed-use neighborhood and one of its first planned communities, is home to more than half of the city’s properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Victorian piles, Craftsman bungalows, and Colonial Revival saltboxes define about three square miles in northwest Houston—many built around the turn of the last century. You can walk it, but why not bike it? Join AIA Houston on a bicycle tour that will cover individual homes and the overall neighborhood context.
Learn more at aiahouston.org.