Welcome Valeria!

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We are excited to welcome Valeria Landeros!

Valeria Landeros is a Design Associate at buildingcommunityWORKSHOP. Valeria collaborates on a range of architectural and community projects in the Rio Grande Valley.

Valeria studied at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a Bachelor of Architecture.

Learn more about Valeria here!


DC Public Library Fab Lab Pop-Up at NoMa Now Open

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Read more about the Fab Lab here.

[bc] believes in the public library's critical role as a hub for democracy. We are excited to support the DC Public Library in extending services into neighborhoods, expanding services to facilitate the work of makers, and fostering community spaces for individuals to utilize their hands and access the tools to shape the future of their cities. 

In June, the DC Public Library NoMa fabrication lab ("fab lab") pop-up officially opened! The completion of this shipping container-turned-makerspace, which houses maker equipment and easily adjustable work stations, was celebrated with an opening event on June 17, attended by the project partners.

Attendees were free to roam around the courtyard and inside the container, and to enjoy the interior craftsmanship of custom-designed maker walls and furniture and the mural on all sides of the containers. Even the tops of the containers were painted, viewable from the surrounding tall buildings.

Following the tour and open house, Executive Director of the DC Public Library, Richard Reyes-Gavilan gave a closing thank you to all partners. Reyes-Gavilan spoke about the programming and new perspective public libraries can offer, noting, "Libraries are more than just books."

The Public Library has already started hosting free DIY classes and workshops. You can learn more about upcoming events at the Fab Lab Pop-Up at NOMA on the DC Public Library website here. More information about the Fab Lab and Pop-Up can be found here. 

Thanks to all of our partners and volunteers who assisted with this project!

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Construction Underway on Tangelo Quarters

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Tangelo Quarters, a housing development comprised of 18 single-family units, is currently under construction. Framing for the first five units has begun, and foundations for four others have been poured. 

When complete, Tangelo Quarters will provide affordable, contextually-appropriate housing for 18 families in Brownsville, TX. The site will feature a range of community amenities, such as a community garden, for residents to enjoy together. The project meets density goals while preserving individual identities of homes and fitting in with the existing neighborhood. 

We look forward to continuing work with our partners on this project, the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville (CDCB) and the Housing Authority of the City of Brownsville (HACB) and to seeing the project's completion in 2019. 

New Home Development Program in Acres Homes

On September 4, the City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department broke ground on 8 homes in the Acres Homes neighborhood that were designed by [bc] as part of the New Home Development Program. Drawing from the engagement done as a part of the City of Houston's Disaster Recovery Round 2, the designs were updated to improve resiliency and accessibility. [bc] staff were in attendance for the event, in addition to Mayor Sylvester Turner and representatives from HCDD.

Check out our photos from the event below!

Macon Starks Update

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The Macon Starks project is a housing development at the intersection of Macon and Starks Streets in the Bonton neighborhood. This housing project, which began a couple years ago, was met with a few delays along the way, but we are pleased to announce that the five senior housing units have been built and all are currently occupied. This project is a partnership between East Dallas Community Organization and [bc].

The units are a mix of duplex and single family dwellings centered around a communal garden space with raised planter beds. We look forward to advancing our design practice through different housing typologies serving the various populations of our cities.

Harold Simmons Park Public Workshops

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[bc] is serving as a consultant to the Trinity Park Conservancy, bringing our skill set in public interest design to engage Dallas' communities around the future of Harold Simmons Park, 200 acres along the Trinity River. Engagement efforts will focus on discovering how Dallas residents currently use parks and public space while encouraging them to re-imagine what this area could be. This understanding will inform the design of the 200 acre Harold Simmons Park.

Join us as we support the Trinity Park Conservancy in envisioning the future of the Harold Simmons Park as a public space that connects Dallas residents to each other and nature. Starting September 15th, the Conservancy will host 10 public workshops across the city to reimagine our river. For more about Harold Simmons Park, click here. Click here to RSVP to the upcoming workshops.

Welcome Kevin!

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We are excited to welcome Kevin Clapp!

Kevin Clapp is a Design Associate at buildingcommunityWORKSHOPKevin supports various Making and People Organizing Place (POP) projects.

Kevin holds a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Science in Urban & Regional Planning from Texas A&M University.

Learn more about Kevin here. 

Welcome Christine!

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We are excited to welcome Christine Nguyen!

Christine Nguyen is a Design Associate at buildingcommunityWORKSHOP. She works on disaster recovery and other projects in and around the Houston area. 

Christine graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor or Arts in Architecture and a minor in Energy and Sustainability.

Learn more about Christine here. 

Rapido CORE Accessory Dwelling Unit

We have developed a series of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), exploring different outdoor design layouts that allow for adaptation and flexibility of placement in multiple lot configurations. All of our ADU designs utilize [bc]'s RAPIDO CORE, a disaster recovery housing modular unit, designed for durable and fast rehousing post disaster.  Check out more information about this initiative and the details for each ADU design option at [bc]'s People's Design Library.

There are many reasons a property owner would want to invest in a RAPIDO ADU: disaster preparedness, temporary housing during repairs or reconstruction, increase affordable units in the city and provide extra income to homeowners.  

These structures can be built quickly using standard materials and construction methods and are designed on raised platforms in order to avoid damage from flooding. A RAPIDO ADU can also be used as a safe house during a storm, especially if your home sustains serious damage. Because RAPIDO COREs can be built quickly,  the ADU can act as temporary housing and allow homeowners whose houses are in need of repairs to remain on their property while their home is repaired or rebuilt. ADUs are also often rented out to individuals, and this extra structure can give the homeowner an extra source of income once they have returned to their repaired home. 

Smart Growth for Dallas Focus Forum Update

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As we gear up for the final two Smart Growth for Dallas Focus Forum conversations on Parks and Public Space for People of All Abilities (August 9th) and Designing for Equity in Parks and Public Space (September 6th), we have been reflecting on the thoughtful conversations we’ve had had so far.

In our first panel discussion in May, moderated by Dr. Ivonne Audirac of the University of Texas at Arlington's College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA), we had a compelling conversation about the issues of urban development and the impact of public space design on neighborhood vitality. Our panelists Aaron Abelson of HR&A Advisors, Brianna Brown of Texas Organizing Project, and Brent Brown of the Trinity Park Conservancy joined us at Better Block to talk about how public space design can contribute to the perpetuation of neighborhood disinvestment or be a catalyst for new development and neighborhood desirability. You can listen to the conversation online.

The second panel discussion in June was moderated by Alfreda Norman, Senior Vice President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, where we discussed the issues of race and ethnicity in public space design. Our panelists Bobby Abtahi, President of the Dallas Park and Recreation Board, Isaac Cohen, a Landscape Architect at Studio Outside, Delia Jasso, former District 1 Council Member, and Yui Iwase, New Roots Coordinator at the International Rescue Committee joined us at the Dallas Black Dance Theater to talk about how a city with a long history of segregation might approach current and future public space design in a way that supports equity and access to public space for all of its residents. You can learn about the history of Dallas’ public parks and residential racial segregation within the city in [bc]’s Race and Control of Public Parks and listen to the panel conversation online.

Stay tuned for more information about the upcoming focus forums!

Smart Growth for Dallas, an initiative led by the Trust for Public Land, buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, and Texas Trees Foundation, seeks to combine community insight and science to promote quality public spaces and green infrastructure in Dallas. To unpack the issues highlighted during our community engagement process, Smart Growth for Dallas will be hosting a series of 'Focus Forums' to explore the challenging topics of race and ethnicity, urban development, and accessibility within our public space design. The closing discussion will seek to knit together the prior conversation by exploring the specific role of design in bringing equity to public spaces. Through these conversations we hope to uncover forward-thinking ideas about planning and public space design in Dallas by bringing together groups whose work directly relates to each theme.

buildingcommunityWORKSHOP Launches Freedmen’s Town Storytelling Project

Residents of North Texas Freedmen’s Towns will Document Community Histories

buildingcommunityWORKSHOP ([bc]) has been awarded a National Parks Service African American Civil Rights Grant to launch a new project focused on North Texas Freedmen’s Towns. The “Freedmen’s Towns Stories” project aims to support residents of Dallas’s historic Freedmen’s Towns and their descendants in telling the stories of the changes their communities faced during the Civil Rights Period through oral history, cross-generational interpretive storytelling, and text-based multimedia products.

[bc] has partnered with noted architectural historian Dr. Kathryn Holliday, Founding Director of the University of Texas at Arlington’s Dillon Center for Architecture, along with UTA College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs students, and the Writer’s Garret, the first nonprofit literary center in North Texas, which has connected over 2 million writers, readers, and audience members over the past 23 years, to build local capacity through this endeavor. Over the course of the project, [bc] and its partners will train and provide support to residents in conducting historical research, navigating archives, historic storytelling in written and oral formats, and recordings oral histories.

“Since 2012, [bc] has worked with residents of the Tenth Street Historic District—a historic former Freedmen’s Town—to assist residents preserving and celebrating their community’s rich history. With this grant, we will further advance this important work, engaging communities and residents across the region,” says Thor Erickson, President & Managing Director of [bc].

As a community design center with expertise in translating technical information into an accessible graphic format, [bc] will create manuals that will aid additional urban North Texas Freedmen’s Towns in the task of historic storytelling. These resources, as well as the oral histories and written stories collected through the project, will be hosted in a new online repository, which will be built over the course of the project period. This website will establish a new online presence for urban North Texas Freedmen’s Towns’ collaborative efforts.

The project’s launch coincides with a timely need. As construction continues on the Southern Gateway project, which will bring a multimillion dollar deck park to the neighborhood, Dallas’s Tenth Street Historic District faces imminent redevelopment pressures.

Several historic structures recently received demolition orders as residents have witnessed steadily increasing outside interest in neighborhood real estate. These events have catalyzed a number of local conversations about historic preservation, equity, and their intersection.

Freedmen’s Towns Stories will build resident capacity to preserve the local histories of these oft-overlooked communities. By training residents to undertake these efforts, the project will further equip the many residents who are dedicated to this endeavor.

Disclaimer:

Partially funded by the African American Civil Rights program of the Historic Preservation Fund, National Park Service, Department of the Interior. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material do not constitute endorsement or necessarily reflect the view of the Department of the Interior.

About [bc]:

The buildingcommunityWORKSHOP is a Texas based nonprofit community design center seeking to improve the livability and viability of communities through the practice of thoughtful design and making. We enrich the lives of citizens by bringing design thinking to areas of our cities where resources are most scarce. To do so, [bc] recognizes that it must first understand the social, economic, and environmental issues facing a community before beginning work. (www.bcworkshop.org)

sustainABLEhouse Model Home in Corpus Under Construction

Learn more about sAh Corpus Christi here!

[bc] and the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville (CDCB) have partnered to bring the sustainABLEhouse model of single-family affordable housing development to the city of Corpus Christi in order to provide housing choice to residents of the Hillcrest and Washington Coles neighborhoods who have been impacted by the Harbor Bridge reconstruction project and offered to participate in a voluntary relocation program managed by the Port Authority and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

Construction is now underway on a model home at 2517 Persimmon St. The model home will provide a tangible example for Corpus Christi residents of the quality of sustainABLEhouse homes, demonstrating the possibilities of custom-designed affordable housing. sustainABLEhouse works to combat the stigma around affordable housing, proving that affordability does not have to mean a lack of choice or quality, as it often does for many. The model home will show families how they can customize their design to achieve the kind of home that they want, or even model a new home on their previous one.  sustainABLEhouse will provide residents with homes that meet their preferences and are durable and efficient. 

We are excited to bring sustainABLEhouse to this new geography and to serve residents of Corpus Christi with customized affordable homes that suit their needs and their budgets. 

Welcome Ucha!

We are excited to welcome Ucha Abbah, our Dallas bcINTERN this summer!

From Dallas, Texas, Ucha holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights and Environmental Studies from Southern Methodist University and is in the process of completing a Master of Urban and Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia. You can read more about Ucha here.

Thus far, Ucha has worked to research Freedmen's Towns in Dallas and how urban development has impacted them to support future storytelling work.

Ucha says, "My experience so far has been great, I have gotten to see completed projects while learning about the processes that lead to the completion of the projects that [bc] works on. I have enjoyed getting to know the different personalities here and how they come together to make the office unique and fun."

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Welcome Alison!

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We are excited to welcome Alison Katz, our Houston bcINTERN this summer!

Alison is from Saratoga Springs, NY and currently pursuing a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University as part of the class of 2020. You can read more about Alison here

Alison has been supporting our RAPIDO work in Houston. This summer, she will be working on marketing for upcoming projects, as well as assisting with community meetings that are happening here in Houston regarding the local needs and priorities for recovery since Harvey.

Alison says, "So far, my experience at [bc] has been really eye opening. Houston is a new city to me, and talking to people who have lost everything because of Harvey has been really impactful. In a short amount of time I have learned a lot about the way policy has specifically affected the way the city has recovered (or not) from the hurricane, and the ways community centers are advocating for people in need."

Welcome Sara!

We are excited to welcome Sara Taketatsu, our RGV bcINTERN this summer!

Sara is from Antonito, Colorado and is currently a junior at the CU Boulder Program in Environmental Design working on her Bachelor of Environmental Design, specialization in architecture. You can learn more about Sara here

Throughout the summer, Sara will be working on creating materials, documenting, and attending meetings for the El Sonido del Agua project, as well as helping out with architectural design and low-impact development projects in the Rio Grande Valley. 

Sara says, "It's been amazing to meet so many wonderful people in the [bc] community and in the LRGV. There's a depth of knowledge and experiences here that is truly remarkable and exciting to learn from."

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Welcome Lilith!

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We are excited to welcome Lilith Winkler-Schor, our DC bcINTERN this summer!

She received her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tulane University in social policy, political science, and studio art. Born in Munich, Germany, and raised in Seattle, Washington, Lilith now lives in New Orleans. You can read more about Lilith here

This summer, Lilith will be conducting interviews and research to discover best practices for community engagement and stakeholder inclusion in Business Improvement District formation and implementation, as well as building on site for the DC Public Library Container Lab project. 

Lilith says, "I love the interdisciplinary nature and fast-paced energy of [bc]. With a background in policy and sculpture, it's rare to find opportunities that exist in both worlds, but at [bc] I get to bounce between conducting interviews on policy implementation to grinding metal on site for a maker space."

Four Musicians Selected for El Sonido del Agua

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On June 13, 2018 the musician selection committee—comprised of community organizers, conjunto musician experts and designers—reviewed applications and held live auditions at the ARISE Support Center in Alamo, TX. The Support Center is just a few miles from Alberta Meadows and Owassa Acres, two colonias which are focus areas for the project.

Four musicians rose to the top of the list during this session and the committee thought that finding a way for the four of them to work together would foster the best possible outcomes for the project. Two of the musicians are from the colonias themselves (one each from Alberta Meadows and Owassa Acres). The other two live in the Rio Grande Valley and have experience working with colonias. This combination of local expertise and regional understanding of drainage and music should make for a lively experience!

We will announce the musicians at the July 11 and 12 songwriting workshops and community audits, to take place in the colonias. These events will kick off the next phase of the project. Musicians will lead corrido writing writing workshops, following walking community audits led by [bc]. The community audits are designed to support residents of the colonias in identifying, documenting, and reporting infrastructural issues that impact drainage and catalyze conversations about the challenges of daily living in a flood prone area. These audits and conversations will be a foundation for writing corridos (narrative ballads) about these conditions.

Additional workshops will be held this summer to refine the corridos and then produce conjuntos based on these stories. This effort to put the daily struggles that colonia residents face into song is at the heart of El Sonido del Agua.

 This project is supported by a grant from the ArtPlace America National Creative Placemaking Fund.

buildingcommunityHEROES 4th Edition Released

[bc] is excited to share our 4th edition of buildingcommunityHEROES ([bc]HEROES) trading cards. This edition celebrates individuals across Dallas who are making strides in the areas of education, food access, community organizing, arts, bicycle advocacy, and community development. With a fresh new design, these cards are a fun way to learn about and celebrate local Dallas heroes.

Our 4th Edition Heroes include: Lucy Phelps Patterson, Daron Babcock, Kay Thompson, William Sidney Pittman, Yvonne Ewell, Taylor Toynes, Clarice Criss, Cora Cardona, Onjaleke Brown, Joli Robinson, Ronnie Mestas, Lily Weiss, Ben Leal, and Ashly Fields.

[bc]HEROES launched in 2014 in commemoration of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service. Dr. King challenged us to build a more perfect union and taught us that everyone has a role to play. [bc] honors that incredible legacy of service by recognizing local trailblazers, advocates, organizers, and leaders, who serve our communities.

Check out more at buildingcommunityheroes.org, read HERO bios, nominate your HERO for future trading cards, and explore our HEROES’ causes. If you would like your own pack of [bc]HEROES trading cards please contact give us a call or swing by the Dallas Office. Supplies are limited.