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Expanding Visions

Student presenting project to group

Auburn University Architecture Thesis student work was recently featured in an exhibition during the first annual ”Montgomery Street Fair” on April 21, 2012.  The event had around 2,000 in attendance and was produced by Helicity Montgomery, a local non-profit that seeks to be a catalyst for the continued cultural and social development of the City of Montgomery and surrounding areas through arts and community engagement.

For several years, Auburn architecture has cultivated a thesis studio that explores the possibilities of the urban revitalization of downtown Montgomery, and with each passing year the projects have become more and more relevant to the conversation about how to improve Montgomery's urban landscape. By working with the City of Montgomery Department of Development and local architects, professors Behzad Nakhjavan and Magdalena Garmaz have immersed their students in tangible issues, shaping the would be hypothetical explorations into increasingly applicable design solutions for the City. For this very reason, Helicity asked the students to display their work at an event aimed at celebrating creativity and reinvigorating the imaginations of attendees.

Helicity felt exposing the general public to the statements made by the students through their work would extend the conversation further. Helicity staged the exhibition in the soon- to-be redeveloped historic S. H. Kress building in an effort to increase the impact of student work.  While it is unlikely that a developer walked out of the exhibition planning to implement a specific project, elements from each project illustrate very real possibilities of what could be done. Seeing these ideas helps the observer to think critically about ongoing and upcoming developments, ultimately raising expectations and standards for the quality of architecture produced in Montgomery.

Several projects were also selected to be showcased further at the City of Montgomery’s  Department of Development in a reception that took place in early June.