From the Archives: 2019 UCFA Architecture Week

Box City

The Utah Center for Architecture (UCFA) celebrated Architecture Week in April. The five days of events highlighted public art and how it infuses our community with design-mindedness, and inspires and encourages public thinking.

Monday – EECTA “Box City” Program

Amidst a bright array of colors and materials, students, family and friends gathered at the Downtown Library to celebrate an exciting year of architectural discovery through the EECTA ‘Box City’ program. *Educating Elementary Children Through Architecture (EECTA) was created in 2004 by the AIA Utah Young Architects Forum and approved by the State for teaching core curriculum subjects. It is now underwritten by UCFA.

A street level view of a Box City project.

The model cities on display were created by 4th and 5th grade students from six classrooms in the Salt Lake Valley. Nearly 200 students explored the world of design and city planning for 12 weeks with local architects, architecture students and design professionals. Architectural volunteers taught the students about scale, space, structure, materials, building components and planning. After students explored design basics, they engaged in the design process and collaborated in groups to make big decisions about the cities they wanted to create.

They adapted to natural land features, organized transportation infrastructure, and transformed cereal boxes, paper towel rolls, construction paper, and other recycled materials into buildings, monuments and outdoor spaces. They learned more about language, science, and social science, along with improving their presentation and communication skills.

Tracy Strauss, a teacher from the Guadalupe School said, “It was a pleasure to participate in Box City this year. My students loved the process and experienced pride in their work and learned a lot about architecture at the same time.”

Tuesday – Movie Night

Over 100 people enjoyed a screening of “White Walls Say Nothing” a documentary about art and activism in the streets of Buenos Aires. The documentary highlights the relationship of graffiti art and the complex history of this vibrant place through generations of turmoil. The street art became the voice of the city reflecting personal and political beliefs in a place that has promotes this unique form of expression.  

After the screening the group engaged in an open discussion about art in Salt Lake City moderated by Renya Nelson, a driving force behind the Granary District Mural Project. Renya was joined by Chuck Landvatter, artist and professor; Tyler Bloomquist, Artistic Director of The Blocks; and Sarah Hobin, the Public Art Program Assistant for the Salt Lake City Arts Council. They discussed the relationship of art and expression and how to promote and enhance public art in Salt Lake City.

The evening was a great success thanks to our partnership with the Utah Film Center.

Wednesday – Granary District Murals Tour & Social

The Tuesday night documentary and panel discussion were a perfect segue to the Fisher Brewery social and self-guided tour of the Granary District Murals. The 11 unique murals painted by 15 artists were funded by a $150,000 Salt Lake City RDA grant and spearheaded by Renya Nelson.

Attendees on the Mural Tour.

Seeing the murals was inspiring and the group had a surprise tour guide volunteer, Josh Scheuerman. A Utah native, Josh was a knowledgeable and passionate tour guide. He’s been painting murals for 10 years and was the artist for the Fisher Brewery mural. Josh also created the 100’ x 20’ foot landscape of the embattled Bears Ears National Monument mural across the street from the brewery on 800 South. The murals give the city and neighborhood character and meaning and reconnect residents to the southeastern part of the state.

Thursday – Architect/Artist Gallery and Reception

UCFA partnered with AIA Utah and Young Architect Forum to present the gallery and reception at AIA’s new space in the Ford Building. The artwork included sculptures, sketches, photography and other mediums, showcasing the work of 35+ professionals in the local architectural community.

Elizabeth Mitchell and Zahra Hassanipour

The evening culminated in the announcement of the first Elizabeth Mitchell Travel Grant winner: Zahra Hassanipour with FFKR Architects. This award provides up to $2,000 for a recent architectural graduate working in Utah to travel anywhere with the commitment to report back the following year during Architecture Week. Zahra will be traveling to Singapore and studying Biophilic Design.

Friday – Dreamscapes

Our week ended with a tour of Dreamscapes, a pop-up physical and digital artworks journey at The Gateway. It’s Utah’s first environmentally sustainable immersive art attraction and features the vision and work of 50 Utah artists and builders.

Prescott Muir and Dreamscapes panelists.

Following a journey through the 14,000 sf space, UCFA hosted a Dreamscapes artist panel in collaboration with Utah Arts Alliance. Prescott Muir led the discussion with thought-provoking questions about the nature of organic collaborations in art practice, what sustainable practices in the art industry look like and the role of an immersive art experience in Salt Lake City.

Artists / Dream Makers Justina Bonaventura, Jen Lopez (Clever Octopus), Johnathon King and Vellachi Ganesan participated in the dialogue and brought a breadth of perspectives to the dialogue. The lively discussion ended with audience questions and participation in the broader question about the role of art in our communities.

The UCFA board of directors thanks everyone who attended and participated in the events. Each day provided a unique means to further UCFA’s purpose to educate the public as to the benefits and positive impacts of architecture and the built environment.

Image credits

Box City

Box City

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