Earlier this month, we hosted a Yale Day of Service | THE ARCHITECT IS IN event at our office. Launched in 2009, the global Yale Day of Service is an annual opportunity for Yale Alumni to lead by sharing their time and talents to make a difference in one day. This year more than 3,500 members of the Yale community around the world were involved.
As part of this effort, THE ARCHITECT IS IN, is a Yale alumni volunteer collaborative offering pro-bono architectural, planning and design consultations to non-profit organizations.
In just 5 hours, the 6 of us tackled 4 very different projects together:
Sheltered Drinking and Hand Washing Fountain for Children, Sri Lanka
We held a brief video conference with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who explained that 500-600 students have to wait long periods of time daily to access clean drinking water from tap in local schools in Jaffna, northern Sri Lanka. Our team produced conceptual sketches to act as an adaptive template for six schools, integrating elements of play, landscape, local resources, climate and the ergonomics of children.
Gateway Improvements and Viewing Platform, Quinnipiac Meadows Preserve
The project consists of creating a new entry that is more inviting and allows for more parking space, as well as two elevated viewing platforms in the marsh. We produced a narrative outlining ideas for an iconic gate incorporating the forms of wild birds as seen in the preserve, and suggestions for the viewing platform structure and materials within a very modest budget.
Office and Storage Space Use, Huaxin Chinese School
After meeting with the Principal of the school on site, the team developed SketchUp options for rearranging file cabinets and furniture in a room, which will allow the school to use it for school office, small classroom and storage.
Model Making Instructions for High School Class Project, Melrose High School
As part of their algebra and trigonometry curriculum, students are designing a new school for the current site of the school. The students are required to think about issues with the current building, bring in natural light and also integrate 12 curves as part of their designs. Our mission was to provide a list of tips on how to build models out of cardboard or other inexpensive materials. We produced our own short videos of model making techniques to provide some guidance to the class.
At the end of the day, we were all amazed at how productive we were – brainstorming with others whom we did not know before, and tackling topics that can be outside the realm of our regular practice. The limitation on time and contextual information worked to our advantage, directing us from crafting solutions to designing systems and guidelines, and varying methods of representation that would best help the different non-profit organizations. The day truly embraces the spirit of creativity, collaboration and service!