Wednesday, January 23

Visualizing Change: Upcoming Workshops Blend Design & Civic Engagement

February is always a big month for BLYGAD. With two annual design charrettes that focus on important aspects of our Twin Cities built environment (homelessness and sustainability), it's also a great time for Twin Cities designers to really get involved with the community.

First up is the 3RD ANNUAL GREENLIGHT DESIGN WORKSHOP on February 1st and 2nd. Sponsored by the University of Minnesota's College of Design, Covanta Energy Recovery Center, and Hennepin County, the workshop will take a look the waste-to-energy facility located directly next to the new Twins Ballpark site. Once built, the ballpark will bring thousands of people to the area, so there are many opportunities to design a more sustainable and hopefully inviting public interface. Additionally, necessary roof replacement and site work will allow us to provide options for new sustainable interventions.

All are welcome to participate in this intense day of design: college faculty, community members and of course students and professionals with backgrounds in graphics, design, and sustainability are encouraged to participate. The workshop will be held at Rapson Hall on the East Bank of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. Things get kicked off on Friday night from 5:30 to 7pm. The doors will open at 8am on Saturday for a full day of design, followed by presentations.

TO REGISTER | Please RSVP by January 29th to grnlight[at] with your contact information, experience level, and any dietary preferences (vegan, vegetarian, or allergies). See this CDES MEMO post for more information.

Two weeks later is the 21ST ANNUAL SEARCH FOR SHELTER, sponsored as always, by AIA Minnesota's Housing Advocacy Committee. The Boston Marathon of design charrettes, Search for Shelter kicks off the night of Friday, February 15th, lasts throughout the day Saturday, and doesn't usually wrap up until 2 or 3 on Sunday. But I can say from experience that the time you put into it is well spent. Students, professionals and community members work together to benefit local non-profit organizations that focus on affordable housing and homelessness, and by the end of the weekend, produce a semesters worth of design in less then 3 days.

Search for Shelter also takes place at Rapson Hall at the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. The weekend will kick off with an Opening Program on Friday night from 5:30 - 8 p.m., with Kate Swenson from the Enterprise Foundation will present information on the Rose Architectural Fellowship. Saturday is a working day for the teams, including site visits, brainstorming, and design. The weekend concludes with a final presentation at noon on Sunday when designs are shared with clients. Ample substinance (and caffeine) is provided throughout the weekend.

TO REGISTER | For more information and to register for the charrette, visit the Housing Advocacy Committee's website.

If either of these have piqued your interest, please don't hesitate to sign up. And if you have any questions, I'd be happy to hunt down answers for you. 'Design like you give a damn' isn't just a catchy phrase around here, and these two charrettes are great opportunities to show the rest of the nation that Twin Cities designers walk the talk better then anyone.

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