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Archive for the ‘architecture’ Category

In a follow up to the Japan Society’s November 2008 program, the Machiya Preservation Project, I had the opportunity to join our preservationist friends in Kyoto on April 15 who were hosting a visit by staff of the World Monuments Fund.

As part of their efforts to preserve as many Machiya as possible before too many more are demolished, they have undertaken an heroic effort to catalogue the remaining Machiya.  So far, about 25,000 remaining structures have been identified, but they believe there could be as many as 50,000 in all.  Unfortunately, these structures are regularly destroyed.

After introductions to staff of the American Express Foundation and the World Monuments Fund in November 2008, they have been working hard  to get the Machiya on the World Monument Fund’s Watch List.

They have also applied for assistance to refurbish a community owned Machiya in the heart of Kyoto that would serve as a community center where they can educate Japanese about the Machiya, especially students, and the international community.

Not only do they want to preserve the structures, but they hope to preserve the traditional lifestyle that is part of the Machiya and Kyoto’s cultural heritage.

The coming months are critical as they await the decision of the WMF.   We are hopeful for a positive outcome as we anxiously wait with them.  (Betty)

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Architecture for Humanity and UNICEF are working together to innovate schools and classrooms for children all over the world, scaling architectural innovation to a profound level. As of right now UNICEF and Architecture for Humanity are seeking design and engineering professional to help develop and build a number of educational facilities in West Africa. Their focus at the moment is in Liberia and Ivory Coast, but in the coming months they will look for candidates for Sierra Leone and Guinea. Working in partnership with local communities and the ministry of education, they will design and facilitate the building of two schools that will include alternative energy sources, water reclamation, connectivity, basic services, and play spaces.

In other Architecture for Humanity news, almost $35,000 has been raised for the rebuilding project for Myanmar/Burma since Cyclone Nargis slammed into the country’s southern tip. AFH has spoken with a number of in-country and ex-patriot designers about their strategy for long term rebuilding and have representatives on the ground in Rangoon. Given their available funding they’ve decided to assemble a design team that can focus on the rebuilding of one community that has been devastated by this horrific disaster. AFH is also giving preference to regionally based designers due to the high travel costs associated with getting into Myanmar.

Join hundreds of others and support AFH’s sustainable reconstruction effort, make a donation today by visiting: http://www.architectureforhumanity.org/donate

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Architecture for Humanity has decided to respond to the Cyclone Nargis that hit the heart of Myanmar (Burma), where government figures have reported 15,000 dead but reports claim it is now 22,000. Currently, more than a million people are displaced, and in the coming weeks many will be moved into makeshift tents and lean-toos.

If they are going to get involved and make local impact they will need to raise a minimum of $10,000 for an assessment team or a local team with international support. At that point they will see if they can help in the transitional and long-term phase.

If you care about what is happening and you have $10 or more to spare, please donate via the link below:

http://www.cooleremail.net/users/csinclair/2006FullList_Myanmar.html

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LECTURE SUMMARY
Changemakers: Make the Impossible Possible
February 27, 2008

SPEAKER
Bill Strickland, President and CEO, Manchester Bidwell Corporation; author, Make the Impossible Possible: One Man’s Crusade to Inspire Others to Dream Bigger and Achieve the Extraordinary

MODERATOR
Nana Watanabe, photographer and author, Changemakers: Social Entrepreneurs are Making a Difference and Changemakers II: Working as a Social Entrepreneur

Armed with his trusty slide show and 30 years of experience as a leading social entrepreneur, Bill Strickland shared his inspirational story to a packed house at Japan Society on Wednesday, February 27. The program began with an introduction by award-winning photographer and author Nana Watanabe, whose serendipitous meeting with a punk rocker-turned-social entrepreneur earlier in her career motivated her to seek out and publicize the efforts made by social entrepreneurs. Inspired by her successful first book, Changemakers: Social Entrepreneurs are Making the Difference, Japan Society invited her to photograph participants in the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network retreat in San Francisco in June 2006, where she met Bill. Deeply moved and impressed by Bill’s work, Nana profiled Bill in her most recent book Changemakers: Working as a Social Entrepreneur.

Bill Strickland describing his organization in Pittsburgh, the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. ©Satoru Ishikawa.After being introduced and invited to the podium, Bill, a man standing around six feet-five inches tall and whose presence commands attention, began his presentation much like every other presentation he has given: with a joke. He has one presentation and he knows it and openly jokes about it. He says he feels sorry for those who have chosen to listen to it yet again, but deep down you know what he’s about to talk about is no joke. It’s this disarming and charming attitude that puts an audience at ease and allows his powerful message to reach the hearts and souls of people every day.

Bill began his slide show by describing his organization, the Manchester Bidwell Corporation, and the numerous job training and community arts programs they provide to disadvantaged children and adults. Inspired and, as Bill puts it, “saved” by his high school art teacher, Bill knew from the time he entered the University of Pittsburgh as a probationary student that he wanted to transform the lives of the people in his neighborhood. He knew that the first step in achieving his goal was to build a center worthy of the people he wanted to help. It would have to be a beautiful structure with tons of natural light, beautiful displays of artwork, flowers and a huge fountain in front of the building, because according to Bill, “When you put people in a world-class facility, you create world-class people. When you put them in prisons, you get prisoners.” This was his first step in killing the “spiritual cancer” infecting the poor people living in the ghetto. As a result, he had a student of world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright design and build his center, which as we all found out, became the scale model for the Pittsburgh Airport.

The second ingredient of Manchester Bidwell’s recipe for success is the cutting-edge education people receive. Not only are students given a sense of the possibilities, but also a sense of control over their lives through music and arts programs. Additionally adults are learning trades such as pharmacology, culinary arts, and horticulture that can be applied to finding jobs that Manchester Bidwell has smartly identified as hard to fill by corporations in the greater Pittsburgh area. Connecting music and ceramics with pharmacology might seem like an odd paring, however Bill’s ability to see opportunities where others might only see obstacles allowed him obtain funding and expand Manchester Bidwell to the point where it is today. His relationship with the late Senator John Heinz brought his center a million dollar kitchen and top-notch culinary arts program, and contacts with Hewlett-Packard birthed a state-of-the-art computer lab and visual arts program.

Bill Strickland and Nana Watanabe fielding questions from the audience. ©Satoru Ishikawa.After expounding Manchester Bidwell’s philosophy of light and beauty as a way to lift people out of poverty, Bill explained his new goal: 100 centers in the United States and 100 around the rest of the globe. Centers have already been built in San Francisco, Cincinnati and Grand Rapids, MI, and new centers in places like Philadelphia and New Orleans are in the planning stages. Internationally, Bill was recently in Israel and sat down with Jews and Arabs where they discussed a plan for a new center that would target a diverse group of Jewish and Arab children and adults as well as immigrants to Israel from Russia, Ethiopia and around the world. Conversations about building centers have also begun in Ireland, South Africa, San Paulo and Costa Rica

Bill wants his book Make the Impossible Possible to be a source of inspiration and guiding light for people without hope. He wants a number one book for the media attention and financial backing that a best selling book can bring to help him communicate his message all over the world.

The lecture was followed by a Q&A session, reception and book signings by Bill and Nana.

[photos by Satoru Ishikawa]

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Wednesday, February 27
6:30 pm
Japan Society (333 East 47th Street, New York, NY)

Bill Strickland, Nana Watanabe

Over the past 30 years, Bill Strickland, a leading American social entrepreneur, has been transforming the lives of thousands of people through jobs training center and community arts programs at Manchester Bidwell. He and his staff strive to give disadvantaged kids and adults the opportunities and tools they need to envision and build a better future. Keying off his new book, Make the Impossible Possible (January 2008, Currency/Doubleday), Mr. Strickland, a master storyteller, shares his inspirational story from growing up in a Pittsburgh ghetto to running a nationally-recognized organization that successfully balances social action, artistic creativity and entrepreneurial acumen. More recently he has worked with the Society’s U.S.-Japan Innovators Network, a multidisciplinary network of innovative leaders committed to creating a better world. Nana Watanabe, an award-winning photographer and author of Changemakers II: Working as a Social Entrepreneur (in Japanese), which includes Mr. Strickland, will preside. Followed by a reception and book signing.

Tickets $10/$8 Japan Society members/$5 students & seniors
Purchase Tickets at www.japansociety.org

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IN JAPAN:

In collaboration with the Kyoto Keikan Machizukuri Center and The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, the Japan Society is hosting a two-day retreat and a symposium in Kyoto:

Private Retreat: Invigorating Communities, Designing for Inclusion
November 6-7

Symposium: Invigorating Communities: Learning from Four Successful Initiatives in the United States
November 8
By Invitation Only

Learn more about the two-day retreat and symposium in Kyoto.

IN THE U.S.:

OFF SITE EVENT
November 29, 2007

6-8pm

The New School
Conference Room 510

66 West 12th Street

Beyond Web 2.0: How the Next Tech Revolution will Change the World

Dr. Hiroshi Tasaka, Professor at Tama University in Tokyo, and President of Thinktank SophiaBank, has authored numerous books on the philosophy of working, management theory, business strategy, the Internet revolution and knowledge society, as well as paradigm shifts in human society. A specialist in complexity systems, Dr. Tasaka will explore how next technology revolution will further empower the individual, blending the monetary and voluntary economies to create a new system of Capitalism. Dr. Tasaka will also discuss ways in which technology will help build bridges between the U.S. and Japan, as well as among countries in Asia in the emerging post-knowledge society. Reception to follow.

Introduction by Professor Eiko Ikegami, Professor of Sociology, The New School for Social Research

FREE ADMISSION. This event is free on first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited. For registration, please go to www.imaginingglobalasia.org

For further information, please call (267)266-0209

Co-organizer: The New School/ imagining global asia

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