Students compete to turn public space into vibrant community
Transdisciplinary teams of students from across the http://herbergerinstitute.asu.edu/" target="_blank">ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts will unveil their plans April 16 to transform a dormant public space on the Tempe campus into a vital gathering place for ASU students, faculty and visitors. Announced in October 2009, the http://herbergerinstitute.asu.edu/institute/initiatives/xsquare.php" target="_blank">X-square competition creates opportunities for students to bring together their individual creative practices and collaborate in ways that their classes typically do not allow.
“It has been great to experience areas of interest and expertise from students and faculty in the other Herberger schools,” said Alex Schlegel, sculpture student. “One of an artist’s primary motivations is to affect the world, and we can do that so much more effectively if we are willing to collaborate and share.”
Six student teams share their projects for review and evaluation April 15 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the space that connects the Design North and Design South buildings known as “The Bridge.” An international jury evaluates the projects and announces the finalists that are eligible for vote. Jurors for this competition include Bonnie Bentzin, director of ASU Sustainability Practices; Jann Blesener, director of ASU Architecture and Planning in the University Architects Office; Greg Esser, artist and director of Civic Art for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; Thomas Lehman, a dancer and choreographer from Berlin; and Valerie Vadala Homer, director of Scottsdale Public Art.
Members of the ASU community are invited to vote for the winning X-square proposal from among six teams’ entries on April 16 in the Gallery of Design. The winning team is announced on the site’s brick square in Neeb Plaza on April 16 at 6 p.m.
The winning team will construct their design and have it occupy the square for nine months, allowing students to experience a project that is actualized on campus. While all of the students are motivated by the opportunity to have a project built and showcased on campus, many students are embracing new ways of thinking and communicating to create their proposal to activate a space for the entire ASU community to enjoy.
“The X-square competition is a huge source of motivation for students who want to apply their learning toward something that can be realized before graduating,” said Bach Tran, architecture student. “This experience is not only comparative to the amount of knowledge I gain from studio but has also taught me to work together in a dynamic team environment, utilizing our expertise and creativity to weave together our individual processes.”
The sense of community that has developed across the institute is exciting to faculty leading X-square.
“X-square provides students with a reason and framework for in-depth exchanges of ideas and methods with their fellow students,” said Adriene Jenik, School of Art director. “In addition to the actual words exchanged, they have gone to each other’s buildings, met other faculty and students and essentially opened up their cultures to one another."
Each team is required to have at least one student from three Herberger Institute Schools: the School of Art, the School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture, and one of the other five schools in the Herberger Institute. Non-Herberger Institute students are welcome to participate in addition to the three-Herberger Institute student minimum requirement. Teams also need to have a Herberger Institute faculty adviser. The transdisciplinary collaboration has given students new ways of thinking and working that they have adopted into their other projects and studios.
“I have approached students from other fields to get their insight on my thesis,” said Miles Roberts, architecture student. “Sharing research and collaborating on designs allows me to develop my projects in a more grounded way. Working on X-square certainly encouraged me to collaborate this way.”
Because of the interest generated by the X-square project, the School of Art and the School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture created a course for the fall semester about creating small and active public spaces. Public Environments: X-square (ART 494/598 and ADE 494/598) focuses on temporary, long-term installations. X-square serves as an immediate case study for this class, and students from all disciplines are encouraged to enroll.
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Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts