Karen Lewis and students recognized in international design competition

Assistant Professor Karen Lewis and students from her winter architecture studio have been recognized in the Van Alen Institute’s “Life at the Speed of Rail” competition. The competition—a multimedia ideas competition that addresses the cultural, environmental and economic impact of a new US rail network—awarded ten winning entries and honorable mentions that will be discussed and exhibited at several museums throughout the country this summer.

Lewis’ two winning submissions—“Switch Space,” and “Health Corridor”—were developed with students through her winter studio at the KSA, which focused on the “3C” high-speed rail network, a controversial proposal to connect Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland with passenger rail. “The studio looked at how Ohio’s emerging low-carbon export economy could benefit from high speed rail,” said Lewis. “Rather than move freight, Ohio’s next economy will export services such as education, healthcare and energy. We wanted to see how passenger rail could participate in the next economy.” Lewis and her studio also benefited from design charettes and critiques with Columbus-based design firm MSI and the Greater Ohio Policy Center, a smart-growth advocacy group.

“Switch Space,” developed with Emma Cuciurean-Zapan and Christine Yankel, was selected as a winning entry and focuses on the economic potential of productive Midwestern landscapes. “Health Corridor” received an honorable mention for investigating how transportation can benefit cancer care between the James Cancer Center, the Cleveland Clinic and other Ohio treatment centers.

The two projects will be exhibited and discussed in a series of regional panel discussions this summer at the National Building Museum in Washington DC, the Museum of Contemporary Art in St. Louis, the Baker Institute in Houston, and the Caltrans Headquarters in Los Angeles, and at the Van Alen Institute in New York.

For more information on the competition visit, http://www.vanalen.org/lasr/

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