Hear From Dana McKinney MArch ’17, MUP ’17
Dana McKinney MArch ’17, MUP ’17, reflects on her spring 2016 studio experience.
I am both a designer and a planner, pursuing concurrent degrees in the Architecture and Urban Planning and Design Departments. I came to the GSD because it emphasizes interdisciplinary study. The environment has challenged me, inspired me, and reaffirmed my desire to pursue work in mixed-income housing and public institutional spaces.
My studio this semester with Hanif Kara and Leire Asensio Villoria, (Re) planned Obsolescence … Rethinking the Architecture of Waste, has been exemplary in demonstrating the merits of interdisciplinarity, incorporating planning, landscape architecture, and economics, as we are tasked to design a hybridized waste-to-energy facility. One professor is a structural engineer, the other an architect, but they have allowed an even broader, multidimensional design process, incorporating planning, landscape architecture, and economics, as we are tasked to design a hybridized waste-to-energy facility.
The studio resonates with my passions of both architecture and urban planning, as I have deployed both skill sets, thinking about people and place, aspiration and reality.
Earlier this semester, we traveled to Stockholm and Denmark, to tour numerous waste-to-energy facilities. However, we also traveled domestically to plants in Bridgeport and Preston, CT – grounding the project in varying locations, allowing us to think more critically about their feasibility and context. My project in Bridgeport, CT, a low-income, minority majority city, is located within the site of a contested coal plant. The waste-to-energy facility is hybridized with a sewage treatment plant and a multi-modal terminal to reclaim the urban landscape for future development, the construction of new parks, and create a site of interest within a city that sustains disinvestment.The studio resonates with my passions of both architecture and urban planning, as I have deployed both skill sets, thinking about people and place, aspiration and reality.
Through this studio and other experiences at the GSD, I have engaged in interdisciplinary investigation in both architecture and urban planning, fostering sensitivity to the ways in which architecture can shape its surrounding environment, built and unbuilt. Being around the best designers from across the globe and my talented fellow students inspires me each and every day to take full advantage of my time at the GSD. My education at the convergence of architecture and urban planning has equipped me with invaluable skills to achieve my goal of supporting a landscape of equitable communities.