While the Coastal Services Center provides data, analysis tools, and training, their scope of work does not include providing specific recommendations for jurisdictions and organizations to address their unique and collective challenges. This is where the planners and designers at GCCDS can help!
GCCDS participated in the Powering Renewal Energy Open Houses on Saturday, October 6th at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center and USM’s Gulf Coast Research Lab. Powering Renewal is a program working to bring more clean energy to the Gulf Coast and to raise awareness about everyday energy efficiency opportunities for coastal residents, businesses and communities.
Did you know utility bills represent the 4th highest expense in the American family’s budget? GCCDS was able to share information about household energy costs on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and energy efficiency tips, programs and policies available to help residents save money. The research was part of the studio’s regional planning work for the Plan for Opportunity. See our Get ENERGY SMART handout.
In addition, GCCDS will soon be able to test homes for energy efficiency thanks to a Department of Energy grant! Staff members are currently being trained under the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) and will be able to rate a home’s energy usage, energy loss and costs.
GCCDS is also partnering with Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and The Gulf Coast Renaissance Corporation on two unique programs aimed at creating more energy efficiency in existing homes. More updates to come!
GCCDS welcomed two new employees in February. Joining us are intern architect Laura Shagalov and planner Mai Dang.
Laura comes to us from Minneapolis, MN, where she researched and evaluated home energy consumption. Prior to her work in the Midwest, Laura worked for an architectural firm in Berkeley, CA, specializing in accessible residential design. Her energy efficiency and accessibility expertise are a great addition to our team. Welcome Laura!
Mai recently graduated from the Master of City Planning program at MIT. During her graduate studies, Mai worked closely with a non-profit affordable housing development organization in Boston, MA. Joining the GCCDS has brought Mai back to the Gulf Coast, where she has 3 years of community organizing and development experience post-Katrina. We are excited to have her on board. Welcome Mai!
Sarah Grider, our most recent Public Design Intern, started with us at the beginning of January. She recently graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Architecture. As a student, Sarah worked at the Small Town Center in Starkville, Mississippi. She brings her experiences in community service, academic research, and professional design. Welcome, Sarah!
We hired Adrine Arakelian in February as our newest Intern Landscape Architect. Prior to joining the GCCDS team, Adrine worked with the National Park Service, Treepeople, the Atelier Jean Nouvel in Paris, France, and the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning. Her experiences in both planning and landscape architecture make her a great addition to our team. Welcome, Adrine!
Ceara teaching kids about architecture at a summer arts camp (left) and Sam discussing the flooding process for the floodproof construction testing (right).
We are excited to announce that Sam Carlsen, former GCCDS staff, and Ceara O’Leary, former Public Design Intern, have been selected for the 2011 Rose Fellowship!
The Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship is a national fellowship program that places young architects within community organizations in order to help those organizations address issues of housing, community engagement and green design. Fellows work with their host organization over a three year period, developing their skills while contributing to public and community-oriented projects. The GCCDS hosted Fellow Seth Welty from 2009 to 2011. We are now very proud that two former colleagues will be bringing their experiences at GCCDS to their host organizations.
Sam will be working with the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation on a light rail project to link the downtowns of the Twin Cities. Ceara will be working with the Detroit Collaborative Design Center on a sustainable community development project.
Mike gave a morning presentation to students enrolled in the University’s Architecture Associate’s degree program, entitled, “Public Design Education: Work of the Students and Public Design Interns at the GCCDS.” He used examples of the studio’s work to show public practice in action, and how it has made a difference on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Mike also gave an evening presentation at UT Brownsville that was open to the public. His lecture, “Public Design Practice: Work of the GCCDS & its Partners,” explained the establishment of the design studio soon after Hurricane Katrina and what we are currently working on. The presentation demonstrated how architects can address unmet needs outside of the typical architect-client relationship.
Mike also met up with GCCDS alum Ceara O’Leary and Maggie Winter who are working in Brownsville with bcWORKSHOP to review student work on Friday.
Neil Chambers came to visit the studio a few weeks ago. He is the CEO and Founder of Chambers Design, Inc, author of Urban Green: The Future of Architecture, and a frequent contributor to the blog Treehugger. He has been traveling around the country in a smart car, promoting his new book, and visiting community design groups all over the country.