Within Formal Cities: Learning from Informal Communities in South America

When:  Jun 29, 2015 from 01:00 PM to 02:30 PM (ET)

 “Within Formal Cities” is a project by Abe Drechsler and Brian Gaudio to document housing and infrastructure projects in 5 cities in South America: Lima, Santiago, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Bogotá. This project was made possible by the Turan and Linda Duda Traveling Fellowship, which is a postgraduate award for graduating architecture students at North Carolina State University. By 2050 an estimated 1/4 of the world’s population will live in informal communities such as favelas, shanty-towns, and slums. As public interest designers, we explored the question: “How have cities in South America responded to the growth of informal communities?” We traveled throughout South America for 6 weeks in the Fall of 2014 to interview designers, residents, non-profit organizations, and government agencies about the global housing crisis and the progress cities in South America have made to resolve it. Our project aims to challenge the next generation of designers and architects to do more: to bring good design to those who need it.      Earn 1.5 AIA LUs

Learning Objectives:
  1. Learn a brief history of informal settlements in South America.
  2. Learn about the way designers are working with informal communities in South America.                       
  3. Learn about how governments are working to upgrade informal settlements.
  4. Five “Lessons Learned” from our travels in South America
   Currently Brian is a Fulbright Scholar in the Dominican Republic studying community and environmental planning. Previously, he served as co-founder and president of the non-profit organization Que lo Que which facilitates a cross-cultural immersion program in the Dominican Republic.    In the US, he has worked as a Public Design Intern at the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio in Biloxi, Mississippi; interned in the Blue Sky department at Walt Disney Imagineering; volunteered for the Design Center of Pittsburgh; and worked in youth-philanthropy & grant-making for The Heinz Endowments.     As a student, Brian was a finalist for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, and he won 1st Place as the team leader for the Walt Disney ImagiNations Imagineering Design Competition. In 2014 he graduated Summa Cum Laude from NC State University’s Bachelor of Architecture Program where he completed the University Honors Program and was a Park Scholar.  A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Brian loves Pittsburgh sports and is an avid baseball fan.    

                                      Abe is currently working at Hatch + Ulland Owen Architects, a firm specializing in multi-family + affordable housing in Austin, Texas.  The firm and its employees have recently won several social design awards including SEED Honorable Mention for Excellence in Public Interest Design. Abe recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Architecture in 2014. He has studied at The NCSU Prague Institute and took several courses in urban and public interest design while at NCSU.  While in school he also was an active member of the Presbyterian Campus Ministries organization and Scholars Program. He has traveled extensively in Europe, and also worked on community development projects in Haiti and Honduras. His previous work experience includes interning with HH Architecture in Raleigh, NC and as the Design Thinking and User Experience Intern at Fidelity Investments.  Abe is a native of Mocksville, North Carolina, but currently enjoys tasting all the Texas brisket he can get his hands on.
Thomas Burns, Assoc. AIA graduated from Roger Williams University in 2009. While in school he traveled to Haiti to study the challenges of building safe housing. This study sparked his interest in international community development and upon graduating he enrolled in a program with the International Institute of Sustainable Development through Colorado State University. He has since pursued work in public interest design, interning with MASS Design Group in Haiti working on two hospitals and a job training initiative.  Thomas currently serves as Architectural Designer for Davis Square Architects in Somerville, MA.


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