Bring the Love

To stay on my theme of urban and community regeneration, I'm loving artist Candy Chang's latest project in Fairbanks, Alaska. She took the tallest building there, which is abandoned, and made a statement with it by draping a large "Looking for Love Again" sign off the top floors and by turning the ground floor walls into chalkboards where residents can sketch out their ideas for how the building should be used. For communities to be reimagined, its public spaces must first be reimagined. How phenomenal is it when an artist can come along and help in such a thought-provoking way?

~ JP Pullos


  1. Super fantastic idea! This kind of reminds me (just a bit) of the mindset Rush Rhees Library has been operating under for the last 10-ish years. That is, in the very recent past the library hired a 'cultural anthropologist' to study the behavior and lives of the student (grad. and undergrad.) and faculty population at the university. The theory behind it(and this is really simplifying it but...) is that, by understanding the way our students and staff, study, work and live, the library can provide a better work environment and programs, designed specifically with our users in mind. We often run workshops where students have designed their ideal work space, for instance. They are usually told not to limit their ideas to the concrete, but let their imagination run wild...no budget limitations either. The result of the 10 years of research is wide and varied. Perhaps the best example is the Gleason library which opened in 2007. Many of the design ideas came specifically from the students.

    It seems so obvious...when designing space, why not ask those who have to 'live' there.


  2. I heard a story once about a team that was designing the grounds for the courtyard of a sprawling office park. The lead designer decided the courtyard, between all the buildings, would be covered in a huge lawn with no demarcated walkways. The people working for him were dumbfounded as to why they weren't going to be installing actual sidewalks. His response was: "We'll let people walk where they're going to walk. After six months, we'll see where people walk most because, on those paths, the grass will be brown from being trampled on. Once we see that, we'll put sidewalks in those places."

    In other words, let your users tell you how they use! I totally agree!