Cunningham | Quill Architects’ John Michael Day and Adam Chamy Lead Workshops at the 2017 DC Design Forum

On Wednesday, May 10th, the DC Office of Planning and the AIA DC Chapter hosted a DC Design Forum to  bring together designers, planners, and entrepreneurs from all corners of the City to brainstorm transformative designs for a more livable and inclusive District of Columbia. The Forum was facilitated and led by Eric D. Shaw, Director of the DC Office of Planning.

The Forum began with inspiring lectures from Matthew J. Lister, Director at Gehl Architects, Marina Khoury, Partner at Duany Plater-Zybek & Company, and Bryan C. Lee, Jr., Founder of Colloqate Design and previous Place + Civic Design Director for the Arts Council of New Orleans. Forum attendees then broke in to 12 small workshop groups to tackle urban design and planning dilemmas developed by the workshop leaders specifically concerning the District of Columbia. The results of these workshops will be used by the DC Office of Planning to inform an updated urban design element for the District’s Comprehensive Plan.

2017 DC Design Forum Hosted by the DC Office of Planning and the AIA DC Chapter, Workshops in Session

Associate Principal John Michael Day, AIA, LEED-AP BD+C led a workshop entitled “Neighborhood Wellbeing – How to plan for a Healthy Resilient Neighborhood.” Washington, DC is experiencing a remarkable growth of mixed-used urban infill projects that will dramatically change our neighborhoods. Some planning strategies can be grounded in the pro-forma and economics of the chosen land parcel, leading to an unsustainable housing-market typology. This can especially be seen in neighborhoods where large infill projects have resulted, at times, in a homogeneity of amenities. Such developments lack critical placemaking elements or services that form the basis of a resilient and engaged community, i.e. schools, living-in-place, community centers, and churches. Using Buzzard’s point as a case study, the workshop group explored design trends and opportunities that empower policy makers, designers, and public health professionals to build and plan for neighborhoods that support health and well being, resiliency, and connectivity.

John Michael Day, workshop attendees, and guest speaker Marina Khoury discuss resiliency and wellness.

Project Designer Adam Chamy led a workshop entitled “Repurposing Small Parks.” Washington, DC is a growing city with an increased need for services to our communities. Triangle parks and circles dot the city and are often neglected infrastructure that can be lacking in vitality, unproductive, or even dangerous. In New York’s Central Park permanent bookstores and kiosks have reprogrammed and enlivened spaces.  In Paris’ Parc de la Villette, sculptures and small buildings host ongoing events in a previously large vacant park space. In Medellin, Columbia designers have repurposed small spaces to create better transit options and community centers. Workshop attendees explored tactics to reclaim these underutilized spaces so they can serve the needs of their neighborhoods and the city at large. The team focused on a medium sized triangle park to serve as a test case and developed design solutions that could be applied to parks and circles throughout the city.

Adam Chamy and workshop attendees discuss strategies to reinvigorate underutilized green space in DC.