Now in its 20th year, Public Architecture has continued to be a challenge and a source of satisfaction for me. I continue to learn and grow, and the huge diversity of work that we undertake keeps us on our toes. Most recently I have been working with local groups and elected officials towards the realization of Friendship Park, a small meeting place for separated families from the US and Mexico. This work is a direct offshoot from my bi-national park studies that I began in Cambridge. We are developing (sometimes I like building pro forma’s as much as designing buildings — this is a serious personality flaw) 32 low income rental units in a neighboring city, Chula Vista. With this project we will help revive a sagging commercial district.
In addition, we are working with two significant artists in their respective fields. We are assisting Zaha Hadid Architects in the design and construction of the first ZHA house in north America — right here in San Diego! And, we are working with Loeb Fellow Janet Echelman on the development, construction, and installation of two public art pieces, one to be installed in the new airline terminal in San Francisco, and the other to be installed in the University of Oregon Matthew Knight Arena. All in all we are pretty busy and the work continues to be stimulating.
While it is too early to reflect on the impact of the Fellowship — don’t remind me that I no longer live on the East Coast — I have begun to take on more of a leadership role in my community here in San Diego. You begin to realize that if you do not do some of the heavy lifting, no one else will.
I am in need of some Loeb Fellow journeyman masons and stucco interns. I will whisk you down to the eerie and desolate beauty that is Baja California Norte, Mexico where we can make some great in the field design decisions and spend a few days building on the beach. No experience necessary!