Archive for the ‘ re-imagine Challenge ’ Category

re-imagine Challenge: an independent study

The independent study is approved! so the real work begins…

Course: LA 4970 – 603

Grade: Letter

Faculty Advisor: Prof. Peter Trowbridge, Department of Landscape Architecture

Semester: Spring 2010

Participants: Barry Beagen, Jonathan Leape, Erin Johnson, Lauren Schunk, Carly Dean, Lexi Quint, Catherine Hanna, Carol Chiu and Lucas Chwe


Ithaca is one of the fastest growing cities in Upstate New York, but it has failed to provide sufficient density near the city center to sustain vibrancy in the Commons and allow workers in the lower income brackets to live in the city.  The incongruously affluent academic population distorts the real estate market, and forces many lower income workers to either spent up to 40% of their income on rent or commute from neighboring counties.  The commuting population is vulnerable to gas price increases, does not benefit from many of Ithaca’s services, particularly the school system, and causes congestion in the city center.  Furthermore, new satellite suburban developments, the big box development along route 13 and Ithaca Mall distract Ithacans and visitors from the city center, leaving it only occasionally lively.

The old Challenge Industries building is located at a strategic location. It is at the gateway to the Commons and is at an anchor point between Seneca and East State Street. We are going to envision the possibility for a densification and revitalization of the Commons by injecting a more equitable mixed-income and mixed-use development.


There will be compulsory weekly meetings on Tuesdays 7.30pm to 9.30pm that will be conducted as collaborative studio sessions. Participating students will be working on the project collaboratively during this session. Meetings outside this session will still be conducted in a more flexible manner according to necessity.

Another weekly meeting with the faculty advisor, Prof. Peter Trowbridge, for one hour will be scheduled. This meeting will include reviews, updates and evaluation of progress.

There is a minimum of 3 hours of commitment per week.


The project will be compiled in a comprehensive report, which will be given to the public. The report will include:

Schematic Designs

We will produce schematic designs that will respond to the site appropriately given the programs that we uncover from our research. This includes:

  • At least 3 different schemes will be produced
  • Appropriate communicative materials such as drawings and renderings will be produced
  • Final posters and presentation for final review

Site Analysis Report

The site analysis report will be important in generating the form of the building. At the same time, this will be useful for city officials if they plan future developments. This includes:

  • Current conditions, potentials and issues of the site
  • Recommendations on how to respond to the site
  • Diagrams and maps that will aid in the explanation

Affordable Housing Report

The affordable housing report will cover the current conditions and feasibilities for affordable housing in downtown Ithaca. This includes:

  • Conducting recorded interviews with city officials and various interested parties such as developers and homeowner’s associations
  • Intercept surveys of local citizens
  • Building up upon the various reports that has been produced from Cornell University and also the City of Ithaca


Through this exercise, we hope to raise awareness on the issue of affordable housing in downtown Ithaca. We also hope to contribute to the city by providing ideas for future possibilities. We believe that the old Challenge Industries Building site has a great potential to revitalize Ithaca’s downtown and provide a new direction in a more sustainable and equitable urban development. We are also hoping to inject our ideas and research into the currently developing Downtown Masterplan.


D+E|E+D re-imagining the Challenge continues…

After relaying the messages from the review to team, the proposal was revised. We are still trying to identify and narrow down the project. As a group we decided not to work within the framework of DesignConnect and continue to be an autonomous organization. The competition idea and the exhibition is becoming too ambitious. In order to keep ourselves in line, we decided to do an independent study with Prof. Trowbridge.

Winter break is ahead and we begin to assign tasks for everyone.

D+E|E+D Thanksgiving!

what more can we say…

the turkey

D+E|E+D @ Net Impact 2009

D+E|E+D was presented during Net Impact 2009, the biggest conference ever held in Cornell University, along with Cornell University Solar Decathlon (CUSD 2009), Engineers for a Sustainable World, Kyoto-Now!, etc.

D+E|E+D @ DesignConnect on Halloween

On a hung-over Halloween morning, D+E|E+D presented “re-imagining Challenge Industries Building” at DesignConnect mid-term academic review. The panel of critics included Peter Trowbridge, Professor/Chair of Department of Landscape Architecture, other Landscape Arch. faculties and also some guests Heather Morgan and  Grant Meacci (from Community Development Studio).


Jonathan Leape (Cornell CEE ’11), Barry Beagen (Cornell CEE ’11), Laura Hammerer (Cornell CEE ’11) and Carly Dean (Cornell Architecture ’14)

The review was heated but constructive. The project needed to be narrowed down. This led to two ideas: organize a competition or create an exhibition.

We got in touch with Professor Peter Trowbridge who would be willing to help us with the project and connecting us with people in the city.

Check out our presentation below!


Hey everyone, I know it’s the first round of prelims and midterms, but hang in there!  If you were unable to attend the last few meetings, here are the slides that were presented on September 16th and 23rd.  You can view them to keep up with the progress we’ve made/are making on the Re-Urbanize Ithaca project.
– Jessica
View more presentations from D+E|E+D.


Check out this slide show to see what D+E|E+D is all about.  You’ve probably seen it if you attended the first meeting, but if not, then you should.  It’s fairly comprehensive and gives an overview of the two projects we are currently working on.  It’s also very pretty to look at.
View more presentations from D+E|E+D.

– Barry + Jessica