This Thursday, architect and pioneer of the national Design / Build movement Steve Badanes delivered a free public lecture at Lord Auditorium in the Pack Memorial Library. The event was hosted by AIA Asheville and the Asheville Design Center.
Steve Badanes co-founded Jersey Devil, an architectural firm “committed to the interdependence of building and design.” Badanes holds the Howard S. Wright endowed chair at the University of Washington, where he teaches architecture in the College of Built Environments and directs the Neighborhood Design Build Studio. Badanes also teaches at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont every summer. He has lectured about his 40+ years of experience with humor and humility in 46 states and 10 countries.
Steve Badanes spoke about Jersey Devil’s early years, when he lived on the project site, sometimes for years at a time. The projects focused on the use of local materials, energy conservation, simple geometry, and letting the site determine the form. For example, the Hill House overlooking the San Francisco bay faced winds over 100 mph, so the architects followed the hill’s contours to guide the wind around the site and create a wind-free courtyard. Badanes described the house as “a very simple plan, almost like a curved ranch house.”
When his truck and trailer caught on fire, he “decided it might be time to get a job,” so Badanes started his teaching career. His Design / Build programs expose students to community-driven design and give them an opportunity to follow their designs through the phases of engineering, working around permits, construction, and sourcing local, socially-conscious materials.
Badanes’s best-known piece is the Fremont Troll, which was chosen by public vote by whopping margin of 6:1. The troll lives under the end of Aurora Avenue in Seattle, WA. The Fremont Troll is a cultural icon and inspiration for Trolloween, an annual block party that takes place on October 31. It’s even, to the shock of its designer, a wedding destination.
Badanes has published several books, including Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism and Devil’s Workshop: 25 Years of Jersey Devil Architecture. To learn more about Steve Badanes’s work, visit the Jersey Devil Website
Special thanks to AIA Asheville and of course, Steve Badanes.
Photos courtesy of the Jersey Devil website