In what way can design serve as a conduit, spanning the gap between heterogeneous groups and binding them through their shared collective endeavors? How do spaces-places matter for social practices and historical change? In our 8-week module, we embark on a journey to cultivate havens that not only provide refuge and reprieve but also spark opportunities for collaboration and empowerment—a deliberate effort to speculate on spaces that stand as beacons for catalyzing social, ecological, and cultural transformation. This studio will explore community development, social movements, place, identity, memory, and history, through the programming and speculative design of a Movement Building Retreat Center in rural Georgia (USA).
We will work with the nonprofit organization Project South: The Institution for the Elimination of Poverty and Genocide. Students will begin with an exploratory-research phase which includes discussions and interviews with nonprofit organizations, Indigenous community leaders, and residents of Atlanta and Griffin to develop an understanding of the conflicted history and state of the region and their shared interests and needs. The site was previously used as a Girl Scouts Camp, and several cabins remain. In 2022 the 44-acre site was purchased by Project South. Students will be given an area within the 44-acre site to design within. A program will be provided that students are to expand on.
Student performance will be evaluated through studio work and participation, pin-ups, and final review.