2022 Seed Grant Awardees

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2022 Awardees

Ernesto Bilbao
Modernity from the Air: Aviation and Quito´s Spatial Transformation, 1920-1960

The main objective of this project is to hire copyediting services to review and edit the book proposal Modernity from the Air: Aviation and Quito’s Spatial Transformation, 1920-1960, and three related articles. The book proposal would be sent to potential presses in the United States along with a sample introduction and chapter that are usually required as supporting materials. The articles will be submitted for publication in three different journals as described below.

Gorham Bird and David Smith
Realizing Alabama’s Rosenwald Schools, Phase V: Digital Community Engagement

Digital community engagement with Rosenwald School Alumni organizations to include interview and record oral histories, collect and document alumni records, and build websites for organizations.

Gwendolyn Cohen and Isaac Cohen
Reimagining The Prairie’s Yield

The city of Dallas is a place of rapid growth and change—morphing from thousands of acres of prairie to a vast city and economic anchor for the region. The rapid growth that has characterized Dallas’ development has also led to destructive practices and deep stresses on the land. The researchers believe that Dallas has the potential to be a center for testing and disseminating knowledge about how to counter the impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss, and rapid development in middle-American and non-coastal environment. Establishing a truly place-based approach that addresses Dallas’ staggering issues is essential to avoid the complete erasure of what made Dallas the economic and social engine of an entire region.

Sarah Coleman and Isaac Cohen
Documenting Alabama’s Underdog Landscapes: Extending Public Acknowledgement of Non-Traditional, Ignored, and Invisible Historic Sites

 In preservation professions, ascribing “significance” is an initial act that marks out a historic building or landscape as meaningful or useful in the present, as worthy of attention or care. While estates, churches, and cemeteries are well-represented on Alabama’s registry of historic properties, there is little that constitutes the state’s key histories of labor and industry – landscapes of enslavement, textile mills, factory towns, infrastructure; ruralisms – historic farming techniques, products, and architectures; or indigeneity – settlements and religious sites, for example. Therefore, we seek to expand the definition of historically and culturally significant landscapes in Alabama, guided by these goals to find the landscapes that have been undervalued or made invisible.

Wes Collins
Archival Analysis of Cost Estimator Role as Depicted in the Occupational Outlook Handbook

The cost estimator role is ubiquitous in the commercial construction industry. Technological advances will change this role in the future. The proposed research is to complete an archival research study of the “cost estimator” role as described in the Occupational Outlook Handbook to discern how the role has change over time up to present day.

Robert Finkel
Enhanced Visual Communication for the Selma Project: DESIGN PROCESS

This project, “Enhanced Visual Communication for the Selma Project: Design Process” seeks to develop a more meaningful display of the data collection and archival research of the Bloody Sunday Conflict Site of Drs. Richard Burt, Keith Hébert, and others that has been ongoing since 2016. The design intent is to share the story of the events that took place in 1965 and better engage the public in identifying and recognizing the people and places featured in the archival photos.

David Hill, Sarah Coleman, Rob Holmes, and Emily Knox
Propagation Station

Faculty in the Landscape Architecture Program request funding to support the establishment of a small plant propagation facility. The Propagation Station would allow us to locally source, propagate, and plant native grasses and forbs and woody species. This facility would support both coursework and several ongoing initiatives within APLA, including the Alabama Meadows Project and Graham Farm and Nature Center meadow design. We see the Propagation Station as a component of our Program’s commitment to design research and pedagogy that directly engages with the material realities of landscape as a medium.

Kelly Homan
Alabama Grasslands

This research proposal will document through photographs and drawings Alabama grassland plant communities including rare and endangered plant species. Grasslands across the state include savannas, prairies, balds, barrens, glades, meadows, and coastal grasslands. These landscapes, rich in diversity of both plants and animals, are in steep decline with some estimates showing less than ten percent remain. Providing legibility to the beauty and value these lands provide to the people of Alabama is a critical piece to their future protection.

Il Kim
Rural Studio before Rural Studio: Mockbee Coker’s Architectural Social Activism in the 1980s

Rural Studio’s design/build outreach program was created in 1992 by Samuel Mockbee and Dennis K. Ruth, but the model of the program was founded in the practice of Mockbee Coker Architects. This research will investigate how in the 1980s the office of Mockbee and Coker pursued their architectural social activism for underprivileged people. Through interviews with Coker and research into his archival material, it connects their altruistic practice to the 1968 “Student Revolution” and to Yale University Architecture School’s historic design-build program. In doing so, this research aims to understand Rural Studio’s raison d’être within larger social contexts of the US in the 1960s-80s.

Jeff Kim
Using Augmented Reality to Improve Student’s Learning in Plan Reading Courses: A Cross Discipline Comparison

This research study will evaluate a new classroom tool that helps students interpret their two-dimensional paper (2D) plans. The tool uses augmented reality (AR) to transform the 2D details in the plans into digital three-dimensional images. These images are expected to scaffold the student’s developing spatial abilities, helping them to make the associations that are necessary to properly understand the 2D details in the paper plans.

Emily Knox and David Hill
Alabama Meadows, Expanded

This project builds on the momentum of grassland research already initiated by Professors Hill and Knox, but provides much-needed equipment to grow the work in scale, increase the capacity of the research team and expand the potential for impact in the region and beyond.

Amna Salman
Impact of COVID-19 on the Construction Industry Supply Chain: Disruptions and Recovery Strategies from Owner’s Perspective

During the pandemic, the construction industry faced challenges, such as labor shortages, material shortages, cost escalations, schedule delays, delayed permits, delayed approvals and inspections, travel restrictions, and serious health and safety concerns among others which hindered the timely delivery of the construction projects. As a result, owners were under immense pressure, especially in public universities as there were limited buildings to accommodate the increased teaching and research activities to meet current and future needs. There have been many studies exploring the contractors’ challenges due to the pandemic. However, no research has been conducted to investigate the challenges faced by the owners especially in public universities due to the pandemic. The aim of this research is to investigate and understand how the Southeastern Conference (SEC) schools are mitigating and overcoming the supply chain issues for the timely delivery of their Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) to facilitate teaching and research activities in the higher education environment.

Robert Sproull and Frank Hu
Montgomery’s Peacock Tract: Unearthing a Spatial History through Interactive City Models

The proposed investigation will serve to advance an understanding and methodology of interactive modeling techniques for expansive areas of the urban environment. Specifically, this project will study how a combination of GIS data and LIDAR Point Clouds can serve to produce detailed large-scale physical models of the urban fabric while simultaneously overlaying projecting digital overlays integrated with augmented reality. The site for this project is what has been known as the Peacock Tract in Montgomery, Alabama – a historically significant African American community situated south of the downtown core. Our team will work with a community partner, Mt. Zion A.M.E. Zion Church, to produce a usable series of large-scale interactive exhibit pieces that will become part of an exhibit in the church’s original sanctuary space that is undergoing a conversion to a museum.

Devon Ward
Living Posters: Biodesign and Typography

This SEED grant would help support faculty research into the emerging field of biodesign, introduce biodesign into a graphic design studio in the Spring of 2023, and facilitate the presentation of student outcomes at the Biodesign Challenge (BDC) Summit, an international student design competition that hosts over 51 schools each summer in June. The PI will work with graphic students to create a biodesign project called ‘living posters’ in the Spring 2023 and a select group of 2-4 high-performing students will travel to New York City to present their work at a venue hosted in partnership with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Parsons School of Design in New York City. This SEED grant will provide support for the entry fee which guarantees Auburn’s participation in the BDC summit, faculty summer salary, and material costs necessary for the production of student projects. As part of the PI’s ongoing research into biodesign and biodesign pedagogy, the outcomes from the undergraduate design studio and the BDC Summit will be presented at design conferences in the Fall of 2023.

Courtney Windham and Margaret Fletcher
Fragments to Fruition: Discovering Designers and their Processes—Developing a book titled “Into the Beautiful Mess: Discovering Your Design Process”

This proposal requests funding to collect and synthesize a comprehensive list of interviews to serve as the foundation for a book titled “Into the Beautiful Mess: Discovering Your Design Process” to be published with Routledge/Taylor & Francis UK. It is estimated that the book will include at least 12 interviews with designers from various disciplines. The funding received will support time to research potential designers on the east coast/west coast/midwest, travel to conduct interviews, transcribe interviews, and work with a professional photographer to capture designers within the context of their spaces.

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Seed Grant Awardees