News:Our Youth-Led Community Sensing + Design Leadership Project Wins National Recognition!

Posted on March 31st, 2011 at 2:03 pm by in News

News:Our Youth-Led Community Sensing + Design Leadership Project Wins National Recognition!

Shadelab Receives A Special Recognition Award From The Association of Architectural Organizations.

Although we were a little disappointed not to outrightly win this national K-12 design curriculum competition, we (the Shadelab team) are incredibly proud of the project and believe it makes a number of significant contributions towards rethinking the following:

1. Education and Learning.
-This project not only challenges how, when, and where learning occurs but also who’s doing the teaching, and who’s doing the learning. Unlike most programs, Shadelab is not about the transference of knowledge but the production of knowledge.

2. The Roles That Young Adults Play In Positively Changing The Places They Live.
-Shadelab empowers young adults by placing them in powerful positions as legitimate experts and leaders in community design processes and their neighborhood.

3. The Design Process and Professional Design Practice.
-This project fundamentally rethinks how youth and community can be seamlessly integrated into a design practice and community design process.

4. How We Can Merge Art, Design, Science, Technology and Community.
-Shadelab demonstrates how environmental science, technology, art, design and even theatrical performance can be successfully merged to affect positive change in a community.

5. Project and Individual Performance Evaluation.
-Building on the unique reflective processes that Public Workshop has developed over the years to help students achieve amazing things, we created new evaluation tools based on readily available technologies to meet the needs of an office environment.

It also offers the beginnings of an incredible prototype for how a neighborhood-based, green-design leadership STEM curriculum might look and function. Indeed we are currently not only working on expanding Shadelab but also working hard to develop a curriculum that can be deployed in classrooms throughout a city to provide the sort of true meaning and relevancy that we have consistently seen rapidly accelerate learning.

All this being said, we were quite pleased to learn from the jury that Shadelab caused a great degree of consternation and even significant debate about the purpose and the constructs of the awards!

‘In evaluating the Shadelab project, the jury was delighted to see such a tight focus on promoting the participants’ self-confidence and sense of purpose. Other applications spoke eloquently of their institution’s mission and long-term impact, but few demonstrated such a clear commitment to supporting its participants as Shadelab did. In fact, your work really sparked a lengthy debate among the jurors, as a few members were very captivated by the modest scale of your project coupled with such robust learning opportunities, wishing more providers would take such an approach. The entire jury found your work to be inspiring.’~the Jury.

Needless to say, we like stirring up really smart debate, especially when it relates to design, young adults, learning and community- and of course relentlessly trying to do these things better.

We are proud to say that with this recognition, Shadelab has now won two awards and some of the best in the field are coming forward to say really nice things about the project. Last weekend our 20 year-old superstar intern, Brenda Gamboa, presented the project to 300 people, including some of the country’s most accomplished community designers, at the Structures For Inclusion Conference in Chicago. She absolutely knocked their socks off. More about her presentation shortly.

For more information on the award, please click here.

For more information on the project, including a list of our incredible supporters, click here.