Professor Emeritus Lynn Craig served as an example for us by stepping up and shifting his beloved freehand drawing course to an online format.
Behind the scenes, professor Craig worked over the summer to convert his home studio into a video production space of sorts that allowed him to switch cameras between discussion and the bird's-eye view of his sketch pad. It would have been easy for him to take the semester off, but his passion for teaching and his love of the profession pushed him to adapt.
Senior lecturer David Pastre and the CommunityBUILD studio designed and built a bridge along the West Ashley Bikeway in Charleston. This project came with all the challenges that typically arise in designing and building a bridge, with the pandemic's added challenge. The students coordinated their efforts to build safely under new circumstances. Still, they kept to the rigorous standards of experimentation and quality that we have come to expect of our CommunityBUILD program.
The historic Sterling neighborhood located on the westside of Greenville is a legacy African American neighborhood in South Carolina and the Southeast. Its history is rich with regard to community identity, our country's segregation-integration experience, and recent forces of gentrification that challenge the neighborhood's integrity.
Over the past several years, Tom Schurch, Professor of Landscape Architecture+Urban Design, and graduate students in the landscape architect program have worked closely with the Sterling Community Land Trust. Formed to preserve and revitalize neighborhood identity, Sterling Community Land Trust educates the public regarding its legacy and has continued to do so in the face of change over recent years.
An important resource for Sterling prior to integration was its iconic high school that was a center of community activity and education. Important to the high school's role was a remarkable self-reliance wherein the community took in African American boys and girls from surrounding rural areas where formal learning opportunities were meager. Tragically, in the early days of integration, the high school mysteriously burned down. With its loss, along with out-migration of local inhabitants, neighborhood decline began that recent gentrification has amplified.
In partnering with the Trust – members of whom are former Sterling residents and graduates of Sterling High School – Professor Schurch and his students have assisted community and neighborhood revitalization. Through the creation of various design alternatives and community art installations, these efforts have been means of "visioning" that honors Sterling's historic legacy pertaining to housing, a civic landscape, modest commercial activity and its cultural identity. In addition, attention was given to sustainability through renewable energy resources (solar and geothermal), ecosystem services, CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design) and public health. The accompanying graphics illustrate a few such "visions" in serving a rich African American heritage.
"Tom Schurch and his students have continually provided a valuable service to the Sterling Land Trust and Sterling Community as we strive to revitalize our historic neighborhood. I hope that the benefit to the students' education is great as his and their efforts have been for us." - James Thompson, Sterling Trust President
Research carried on, with faculty continuing to publish nationally and internationally. Professor David Lee was awarded a residency at the Autodesk Technology Center in Toronto, Ontario. The pandemic delayed his in-person work; however, he has proceeded in the assembly of a test structure in Lee Hall. Lee's Autodesk project demonstrates how to incorporate parametric technology to generate geometry and use augmented reality to assemble complex components. The structure will be disassembled and transported to Toronto for reassembly in 2021.
With international travel banned, our nearly 50-year tradition of sending students abroad abruptly came to a halt. Our community responded by designing an online experience that allowed students to interact with our partners overseas with local Clemson faculty support. Our partners at the Clemson Architecture Foundation have begun extensive renovations of The Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies in Genoa, Italy, which would not be possible with students in-residence. Our goal is to have the villa ready for students when the time is right and for the upcoming 50th-anniversary celebration of the Genoa Villa.
Our staff and advisors worked diligently to continue to support and communicate with our students. It is not until we worked remotely that we realized how vital a casual hallway or office drop-by conversations is to our students. Bridging this communication gap took creativity and persistence by our staff to ensure we reached out and helped the students who need us the most.
The Landscape Architecture Program and School of Architecture at Clemson University are very saddened to bear the news of the passing of Robert R. Hewitt, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Throughout his dedicated career as a landscape architecture educator, Hewitt taught, directed, guided, mentored and advised thousands of undergraduate and graduate Landscape Architecture students at Clemson University and Penn State University. Hewitt held two honorary adjunct professorships with Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt and Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan, China, where he taught, lectured and directed summer studios and workshops. With more than 25 years of teaching experience and research, Hewitt was a scholar of cross-cultural, interdisciplinary design pedagogy, receiving multiple awards and accolades from the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, the American Society of Landscape Architects and multiple awards for faculty excellence from the Clemson University Board of Trustees.
As a researcher and scholar, Hewitt published more than 35 articles, papers and book chapters about landscape architecture and how it intersects with diverse cultures, globalization, human health, international education and technology. He was a past president of the South Carolina American Society of Landscape Architects and received its Award of Merit for Outstanding Service to the Profession in 2015 and a Merit Award for the “Climate Change Garden” in 2011. The Tri-State ASLA, covering Georgia and the Carolinas, recognized his work in Luxor, Egypt, with Merit and Honor Awards in both 2008 and 2011.
Hewitt was also a finalist for the Rome Prize in landscape architecture in 2008.
His recent endeavors included partnering to launch the World Design Studio (WDS) in 2019. The studio’s first project brought students and faculty from Ain Shams and Huazhong universities to Charleston, South Carolina, where they worked with the City of Charleston to address sea level rise and urban resiliency in South Carolina’s historic city.
Hewitt divided his time between his homes in Clemson and Sacramento. At Clemson, he enjoyed teaching and guiding students in design studios. In California he was always busy building a new project, and spending time with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Following the killing of George Floyd, the School of Architecture responded by creating ways for us all to grow and become more understanding. This year's lecture series Design, Race and Social (In)justice has invited leading voices in the area of social justice and the built environment. The remote online format has allowed us to open our lectures to our peers, and we are delighted that we have had as many as 400 participants join in the conversation. Our Clemson Center for Design in Charleston held a symposium on Memorials, Monuments, Memory, and Meaning, a three-part and engaging dialogue on Charleston's monuments. I appreciated the varied viewpoints, and it was a moment of personal growth and understanding for me.
I was fortunate to engage with the Clemson National Organization of Minority Architects, student chapter. The cNOMAS chapter contacted me on my first day on the job and continues to lead our diversity and inclusion efforts. If our NOMAS chapter is indicative of the future leaders of the profession of architecture - we are all in good hands.
Our MS in Historic Preservation program is working in the community and has partnered with Mount Zion AMEC on Glebe Street in Charleston this Fall to complete comprehensive documentation in Associate Professor Amalia Leifeste class. Our first-year students are digitally scanning the incredible mid-19th church using LiDAR 3D scanning technology. This allows students to digitize the church using a point cloud and photogrammetry technology. The church is under renovation and restorations and will use the student's insights and documentation.
We were recently contacted by Meadors, Inc. of Charleston, which is donating to the School of Architecture to aid our students during the pandemic instead of hosting their annual holiday party. With their help, we have solicited others to join in their generosity and have secured matching funding to go directly to students in need. This gift, along with all the other generous donations to the School of Architecture, is what ensures our future and builds the supportive community we are so grateful to have.
I began the semester with a message to the faculty, staff and students that the Fall of 2020 would require patience and empathy—this, along with a lot of hard work, made for a successful semester. As we begin in 2021, the same will be required, and the Clemson Community will rise to the challenge and find a way.
Happy New Year,
Thank you to Hala Nassar and Thomas Schurch for their contributions to the newsletter.
We are taking this cycle of the newsletter to try something new by providing it digitally. We hope to do this once per year so we can incorporate interactive and video content. In the spring you can expect to receive a hardcopy of our newsletter.
Enjoy these photos from the year when we were able to be together... with masks!