April 25, 2022
Future100: Four Students Design to Build Community
For Kalavagunta and Mary Claire Moravits, an undergraduate interior design student at the University of Texas at Austin, materiality is a part of making visitors feel valued and welcome while creating a sense of calm and joy. Moravits’ Akachochin outdoor eating concept looks to Japan’s izakaya street food culture to create an environment that would feel both informal and special for guests of all ages. The concept uses light and dark Japanese pine for 20 outdoor seating islands and brings in a burst of color with 24 voluminous immersive red nylon lanterns. For the Shosh Center for Afghan Refugees, Kalavagunta integrates wood in canopies and latticed screens throughout the space, in an homage to Afghani wood-carving craft traditions, to create different open programmatic spaces.
The students’ designs also recognize that diverse communities have diverse needs. These students are designing with consideration of nuanced experiences across race, gender, age, sexuality, and neurological as well as physical diversity. For the proposed ABA Autism Center, Sombre Carleton, an interior design undergraduate student at Kent State University, introduced a central Gross Motor room activity zone to build bonding and belonging between young people by designing around the six senses (with research in autism including interoception and body awareness as an additional sense) and organizing different forms of play across the scale of gross motor skills. Carleton says, “I’m asking myself how architecture can serve people and designing around not just what’s trendy but what communities actually need.”
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