Architecture of/and a 50th Birthday

First & Liberty: thesis exhibition, fundraiser for Growing Hope
University of Michigan School of Architecture

The greenhouse space adjoining Liberty Lofts as it looked on Saturday and Sunday (May 3-4, 2009).

A brief window of activity had given the corner some life over the weekend. But by Tuesday afternoon, the empty quiet had mostly returned in and around the greenhouse space adjoining Liberty Lofts at First and Liberty streets. The one exception was a  minivan mired in a pea gravel pit just inside the open garage door entrance. A crew of guys was strategically wedging 4×8  sheets of waferboard under the wheels to help the front wheels of the vehicle – already half buried in the loose fill –  gain some purchase.

The guys who were working to free the minivan – we stopped and watched long enough to see them succeed – work for the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and they were removing the last of the display panels used for the master’s of architecture thesis exhibit held on Saturday and Sunday. None of the thesis work remained.

It had disappeared from view just as surely as the notes of Ross Huff’s flugelhorn had faded away into Sunday’s sunny afternoon breeze. Huff, along with two comrades, provided the musical component to a parade that had wound down Liberty Street past the thesis exhibit into downtown, culminating in a cheesecake feast at Sculpture Park. The sidewalk stroll marked the 50th birthday of a Chronicle neighbor and Stopped.Watched. correspondent, Linda Diane Feldt, which she used as a fundraiser for Growing Hope.

The master’s of architecture exhibit was open to the public, and we were fortunate to stumble across a member of that public who knows something about the subject matter: local architect Marc Rueter. He pointed us in the direction of a thesis that had made an impression on him – though he hadn’t had a chance to take in all of the work at the exhibit when we talked to him. It was Javian Tang’s thesis, which Rueter described as offering “some interesting solutions to infill.”

Here’s some photos of both events.

inflateable object architecture thesis

Jason Dembski's "Ephemeral Constructs: From Individual Enclosure to Spontaneous Event." It's that pea gravel pit that posed the hazard for the minivan described above.

Wash your hands swine flu

The author of this thesis must have started working on the concept well in advance of the swine flu outbreak. Right? "Pull into the garage, park the car, grab the kids out of the car, take off their shoes and jackets, take off your shoes and jacket. Make sure they wash their hands, make sure you wash your hands ... It's dirty out there."

Car wash public shower

From Javian Tang's thesis: a combination car wash and public shower. Local architect Marc Rueter appreciated the "straightforward drawings" in the thesis.

Sushi Shooting Range

Javian Tang's Sushi Shooting Range.

Matthew D. Stowe's "All the News that's (Un)fit to Print."

pedestrian parade encounter

The parade encounters attendees of the thesis exhibition.

Ross Huff

Ross Huff with flugelhorn.

Parade from a distance

The neighborhood parade as it approached the corner of Liberty and First from the west.

Linda Diane Feldt

Linda Diane Feldt, far right, did not lead the parade, but the occasion was her 50th birthday and a Growing Hope fundraiser she organized.

One Comment

  1. By Linda Diane Feldt
    May 5, 2009 at 8:16 pm | permalink

    For the record, I’ve been 50 for three months. But I had some trouble finding anyone who would agree to parade with me in February. Sorry you missed the Amaretto Cheesecake, Dave. We served five homemade cheesecakes to friends and strangers at the Sculpture park in front of the People’s Food Co-op. A beautiful, totally fun day. Yeah for silly fun!