Alfred State College recently welcomed renowned architect Mark Lakeman, founder and principal Communitecture, Inc., a cutting-edge design firm geared toward sustainable building and planning projects, who reviewed and advised senior students in the final stages of their architecture thesis, gave two presentations about the relationship of sustainability to architecture.
The first focused on Communitecture, Inc., which began in 1998 as a collaboration of designers and planners who wanted to create artful and sustainable projects in a dynamic and visionary atmosphere of professionalism and friendship. The collaboration quickly became a design firm undertaking numerous publicly driven and private commissions, including civic collaborations with the non-profit City Repair Project. The work incorporates sculptural themes, historic sensitivity, ecological design, participatory design, and an emphasis on creating community gathering places. Lakeman also discussed the challenges of adapting to the changing conditions of the profession of architecture and planning.
The evening presentation focused on the City Repair Project which began in Portland, OR, with the idea that localization—of culture, economy, decision making—is a necessary foundation of sustainability. Lakeman shared insights gathered from the story of the City Repair movement, including the struggles and journeys that brought it into being. An interactive community discussion on localizing the effort in Alfred followed.
The events, attended by students and faculty from both Alfred State and neighboring Alfred University, and local residents, resulted in a plan to begin coordinating a University, College, and Village effort to create public spaces in the village of Alfred.