Architecture Students Present Community Improvement Concepts: Judson University Christian College

Architecture Graduate Students to Present Final Community Improvement Concepts for Mark Avenue

(ELGIN, IL - July 17, 2009) Community members looking to see some proposed improvements to the Mark Avenue neighborhood can attend the final Community Outreach presentation that will be made by Judson University’s Architecture Graduate class at 1 p.m., Friday, July 24, at the Elgin Community Church (991 Deborah Avenue) in Elgin.

The event is the culmination of work conducted through the ARC575 class for Judson’s Architecture graduate students. The class worked with Brian Heinrich, executive director of the Elgin Christian Development Corporation, to plan for future improvements of the Mark Avenue neighborhood in Elgin.
“[The class] has been developing a series of master plans for the redevelopment of this Elgin neighborhood, providing analysis of the existing built environment and neighborhood scale improvements vision as well as individual renovation and infill proposals within the neighborhood,” says Keelan Kaiser, chair of the Architecture Department at Judson.

During one week of the six-week course, the students participated in Willow Creek Community Church’s “Blitz Build,” a community outreach program that allowed the students to physically renovate two apartment buildings in the area for low-income transitional housing. The students worked alongside other community members and church volunteers.

“We are excited about the social and environmental justice aspects of this work, and the students have done a great job really seeking to understand the nature of the needs, document them through detailed mapping strategies, and draw conclusions about how improvements to the built environment can positively impact the neighborhood for health, safety and welfare,” says Kaiser.  The course has been co-taught by Kaiser and new adjunct faculty member Yael Breimer, an urban designer from the Netherlands.

Judson University is the only school in the United States that provides a professional architecture education in an evangelical Christian setting for both undergraduate and graduate students. The program places significant emphasis on community engagement and outreach. The ARC575 course is in keeping with those standards as Judson continues a long tradition of service to the community of Elgin through the form of student outreach.

Written by Bethany Droscha '09, Communications Department, Judson University.


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