SAH Awards Field Trip Grants to TourMIA and Piedmont Housing Alliance

by SAH News | Mar 13, 2018

In 2016 the Society of Architectural Historians awarded an American Architecture and Landscape Field Trip Program grant to the School of Architecture at Florida International University (FIU) for its TourMIA program, and in late 2017 SAH made an award to the Piedmont Housing Alliance for its Friendship Court Youth Leadership in Community Design DC Field Trip program.  Read below for Tour MIA accomplishments and for Friendship Court Youth Leadership field trip plans for this year. 

SAH awarded a $5,000 grant in 2016 to support FIU’s TourMIA program, which provided tours of downtown Miami to 69 students from three public schools during the Fall 2017 semester. David Rifkind, associate professor of architecture and interim chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture + Environmental and Urban Design, developed the itinerary with assistance from Liudmila Fuentes, a graduate student in landscape architecture. Fuentes led the tours, which invited students to explore and discuss urban design, landscape architecture, architecture, and public art. Students from Miami Coral Park Senior High School, American Senior High School, and Miami Sunset Senior High School participated in the tours. Fuentes traveled around downtown Miami with each school group and explained the city’s historical evolution from its paleo-Indian origins at the mouth of the Miami River to its most recent buildings by international design firms, such as Herzog and de Meuron, Grimshaw Partners, and Zaha Hadid. Students and their teachers took surveys after each tour and provided feedback. Several students commented that they were now interested in pursuing architecture or landscape architecture as a career, and  their teachers noted how engaging local history became when discussed in the context of the built environment. Fuentes was praised for her knowledge and her presentation style.

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Left: The TourMIA excursions began at Museum Park, in front of the Perez Art Museum Miami (Herzog and De Meuron, 2013), where docent Liudmila Fuentes discussed the recent development of the downtown waterfront, including the Frost Science Museum (Grimshaw Architects, 2017), and 1000 Museum Tower (Zaha Hadid, under construction). Right: The groups walked through Bayfront Park, where they discussed landscape architecture and urban design by Isamu Noguchi and Roberto Burle Marx. Here, students and a teacher from American Senior High School interact with Noguchi's ​Slide Mantra​ (1980).

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Left: TourMIA included a trip on the free MetroMover to give participants an elevated view of the city, and to discuss the importance of integrating public transit in the city's urban design. Right: TourMIA participants were often surprised to discover that their city's history extended back into the nineteenth century. Here, students pose with their teacher on the steps of the 1925 Dade County Courthouse, designed by architect A. Ten Eyck Brown.

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​Left: Public art is an important part of the Tour MIA itinerary. Students explored ​Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels​ by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen (1984-90), at Government Center. Right: Students enjoyed the installations on the porch of the Perez Art Museum Miami, including Penetrable BBL Blue 2/8 by Venezuelan artist Jesús Rafael Soto.

SAH awarded a $4,990 grant to support the Piedmont Housing Alliance’s Friendship Court Youth Leadership in Community Design DC Field Trip program, which will begin in June 2018. The program will serve the seven members of the Friendship Court Youth Leadership Team, made up of promising young students of and contributors to the redevelopment process of their community, the Friendship Court Apartments in Charlottesville, Virginia. The group will tour the National Building Museum (Making Room: Housing for a Changing America exhibition), the Museum of African American History and Culture, 11th Street Bridge Park (equitable development program), District Architecture Center, Center for Landscape Architecture, and a multi-family affordable housing community. This will be the first of annual field trips for youth to study urban design, architecture, and community engagement.




Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is an international nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs.
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