Campus News - January 28, 2002
Schluntz names Childs DPAC director
Center improves urban landscape statewide
By Carolyn Gonzales
Schluntz, dean of the UNM School of Architecture and Planning, named Mark Childs
director of the Design Planning Assistance Center, or DPAC, effective at the
start of the semester. Although hed been involved with former director
Dick Nordhaus and DPAC projects over the last three years, Childs quickly learned
that one of the biggest tasks as director is taking phone calls from individuals
and groups requesting assistance.
Ive answered three calls today. There is a greater need out there
for assistance than we can begin to meet, he says.
Childs has been part time and adjunct in the seven years hes been at UNM and is now finishing the second year on tenure track.
I was introduced as new faculty for three years, he recalls.
He earned his bachelors in science and architecture from MIT, masters
in architecture at the University of Oregon and masters in public administration
from the University of Washington. He lived and worked all around the west including
one long year in Galveston, Tex.
Childs is trying something new in the DPAC studio this semester. The students,
mostly graduate students in architecture and landscape architecture, will be
engaged in two four-week and two 12-week projects.
The four-week projects have to be in response to a very specific question,
he says. One projects aim is to improve Main Street in Artesia, NM. Focusing
on the façades on Main Street businesses, DPAC makes suggestions, giving
Artesians options for improvements. We also will provide design options
for specific façades, says Childs.
The Main Street program is a national initiative to improve Main Street America.
Outcomes include economic development and restructuring, says Childs, noting
that DPAC has a contract with the program.
The second four-week project involves work with the City of Albuquerque in
the Thaxton/Carlisle neighborhood. Located near Gibson, it has characteristics
of a neighborhood center. A parking lot at the intersection can be looked at
with a new urbanist view, says Childs, noting that it can be used
as a plaza when not used for parking. The area has a commercial core,
higher and lower population density and accessible public transportation.
The area needs reenergizing, he says, noting that the students are talking
to people in the area about what theyd like to see in the neighborhood.
Are they interested? What would they like to see? In four weeks theyll
More than 30 years ago DPAC worked with Martineztown residents to develop what
is now south Martineztown. As one of the 12-week projects we are working
with that neighborhood again to look at space at Longfellow Elementary School
and how it interfaces with St. Josephs Hospital. How does the interface
work? How should it? How could it? asks Childs, who is also considering
the addition of public art to the area.
The other 12-week project involves the Lomas Boulevard corridor plan. In the
City of Albuquerques Centers and Corridors program, Lomas is a corridor
and Martineztown a center. Paul Lusk, team teacher in the program, is working
on this project to develop the interface between main and north campus. The
goal is to make Lomas a great street, says Childs.
Thinking more broadly, Childs sees the studio developing more service-based
learning. In his seminar, Civic Places and Public Art, he encourages
students to develop a proposal for public art with a real client.
Hes invited Gordon Church and Sherri Olson, proponents of the 1% for the
Arts with the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, respectively, to come
visit the class to talk about possible projects, clients and desired results.
Childs would like DPAC to build relationships with other organizations and
centers on and off campus. The contract DPAC has with the State Main Street
Program gives students experience working with real clients on a real project,
says Childs. More collaborations means more experience for the students and
greater positive impact on the communities they serve. We want to build
more long term relationships, he says.
We are not in competition with architects. We help communities and non-profits around a project so they can hire an architect, he says, adding, We are also looking for linkages for student internships.
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Albuquerque, New Mexico USA
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