Architects Foundation Announces Two More Regional Resilience Design Studios at Architects’ National Convention

Arkansas, Mississippi Locations Chosen as Part of Architects Foundation’s Continuing National Resilience Initiative 

Atlanta, May 14, 2015 – The AIA Foundation, now called the Architects Foundation, today announced two more Regional Resilience Design Studios as part of its ongoing National Resilience Initiative, which aims to create a network of Regional Resilience Design Studios across the country.

The two new studios are Mississippi State University’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, part of the School of Architecture in the College of Architecture, Art and Design; and the University of Arkansas' Community Design Center at the Fay Jones School of Architecture.

“These two new studios, based on the Gulf Coast and in tornado-prone Arkansas, are crucial to our creating a national network of resilience design experts who can help communities become resilient and prepare both for disasters and the effects of climate change,” said Sherry-Lea Bloodworth-Botop, Executive Director of the Architects Foundation.

The University of Arkansas Community Design Center, UACDC, addresses core challenges in the built environment by emphasizing transit-oriented development, watershed urbanism, low impact development, context-sensitive street design, agricultural urbanism, and smart growth urbanism. The school’s top three project types are (1) smart growth urbanism (particularly related to our tornado recovery planning projects); (2) context-sensitive street design related to revitalization of walkable downtowns; (3) and low impact development work associated with new practices in the ecological management of urban storm water runoff.

“This initiative has the potential to do for design what public health as a vector of innovation did for the medical profession,” said Stephen Luoni, Director of the University of Arkansas Community Design Center and Steven L. Anderson Chair in Architecture and Urban Studies at the Fay Jones School of Architecture. “The NRI is a tremendously important step toward building the frameworks and influence that will amplify the design professions’ value to the public."

Mississippi State University’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, located in Biloxi, Mississippi, was created to respond to Hurricane Katrina and has evolved from disaster recovery to long-term efforts of resilience. The design studio has a full-time staff of planners, architects and landscape architects and works in collaboration with many municipal and community organizations on projects that address mitigation and adaption of households and communities facing hurricane risks, the economic challenges of living in expanded flood zones, and coastal environments threatened by increased development and sea level rise. The design studio’s work includes fortified and flood-proof building design, community engaged storm water and flood-resistant landscapes, low impact land-use in watershed planning, and regional information and cooperation.

“The challenge to transform our cities to be more resilient for extreme events should be seen as an opportunity to make our cities better places to live from day to day,” said David Perkes, Director, Gulf Coast Community Design Studio. “The increasing public awareness of risk is an opportunity for all of us to make stronger and more livable cities.”

First announced at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, the NRI is a partnership that also includes the Association for Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Rockefeller’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative and others that seek to build a network of community-and university-based design studios dedicated to sharing best practices about how to help communities establish built environments that are more prepared for disasters and more resilient following shocks and stresses.

In 2014, the Foundation announced the first Regional Resilience Design Studio at the New Jersey Institute of Technology's Center for Resilient Design in Newark, N.J. The program was kicked-off with an initial $250,000 social impact investment by Benjamin Moore & Co.

About the Architects Foundation
The American Institute of Architects Foundation, now called the Architects Foundation, advances excellence in design for the benefit of the public.  As a nonprofit philanthropic extension of the American Institute of Architects, the Architects Foundation is the consummate voice and advocate for architecture and design in America.  The Architects Foundation is dedicated to the belief that good design is good for all and plays an essential role in transforming lives and building a better world.




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