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Staged Right

(Left to right) Members of Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston’s Studio V class building an information kiosk in Marion Square for bluesphere. One of the homes featured in the documentary Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio

october 13, 2010

Staged Right
Clemson architecture students get constructive with recycled materials for Halsey Institute’s bluesphere: Earth Art Expo

WRITTEN BY Stratton Lawrence

“Make with what you’ve got” could easily be the mantra of this fall’s bluesphere: Earth Art Expo, the citywide event organized by Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. Visual exhibitions and lectures are spread across six museums and galleries, all focused on sustainability education and raising resource awareness.

On the calendar for November 18 is a screening in Cannon Park of the film Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio. The documentary celebrates Mockbee, the late architect and educator who designed and built creative homes for his impoverished neighbors in Alabama. His outreach program has inspired students across the country, including professor David Pastre’s Studio V design/build class at the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston.

As part of the bluesphere effort, Pastre’s 11 students have been tasked with designing a stage and screen on which to project Citizen Architect. It’s the second of two major assignments; the first, a navigational kiosk in Marion Square with displays for each of bluesphere’s exhibits, was erected last week. Think of the projects as hands-on exams.

Mike Niezer spent last Wednesday laying the kiosk’s foundation, a frustrating job involving plenty of careful surveying and digging. Then on Friday, he and his fellow students presented their preliminary ideas for the stage design. “We actually get to build what we design,” says the Masters of Architecture student. “That’s one of the biggest appeals. And we’re working on two projects at the same time, so I think it’s very realistic to what we’ll be experiencing after school.”

Another student, undergraduate senior John Lindenmuth, spent much of September diving into dumpsters for scrap wood and metal to build the kiosk. “Nearly everything we’ve used is material that was going to be tossed away,” he says.

Preliminary designs for the Cannon Park stage include a sail or fin-like structure atop a trailer. Whatever the blueprint, the final product won’t meet its end when the credits roll. The plan is to haul it Upstate to Clemson for another screening, then take it apart and build something new all over again.

For more information about the Citizen Architect screening, as well as the full bluesphere schedule, click here.

To learn more about Citizen Architect, click here.

To read Studio V’s blog chronicling their bluesphere projects, click here.

For details on the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston, click here.

To search our online calendar for more events going on in and around the Lowcountry, click here.

Photographs (students) by Stratton Lawrence & (house) courtesy of Dutch Rall for Big Beard Films



Wed, 10/13/2010