March 29, 2023


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Toni Griffin’s Values-Based mostly Design Method

The place MCM Affect Meets Equitable Design

As chief of The Simply Metropolis Lab, Toni Griffin has been researching, instructing and implementing the design of simply cities around the globe. Whereas her Bachelor’s diploma on the College of Notre Dame and Loeb Fellowship at Harvard College graduate Faculty of Design replicate a conventional training in structure, she pivoted her apply to embody city design and planning after launching her profession as an architect over the course of a decade in her residence metropolis of Chicago. Griffin has since collaborated with group builders, activists and residents to ship impactful initiatives specializing in spatial and racial justice throughout St. Louis, Memphis, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Newark. 

Professor Toni L. Griffin speaks onstage throughout NY Instances Cities For Tomorrow Convention on July 21, 2015 in New York Metropolis. Photograph by Larry Busacca/Getty Photos for New York Instances.

Maybe one in all Toni Griffin’s biggest contributions to the sector is the lab’s Simply Metropolis Index which names fifty values most essential to the creation of extra simply neighborhoods, cities and public areas. Whereas most frameworks of this nature privilege the designers, the Simply Metropolis Index empowers residents and group members to create a shared values system particular to their cities and communities. 

11th Street Bridge Park rendering aerial view
This rendering of the eleventh Avenue Bridge Park exhibits an aerial view of the elevated park. Picture courtesy of OMA+OLIN.

In her function as an educator, Toni Griffin companions with college students to probe the query: Why ought to we care about justice and fairness in design? Her grasp’s degree design studio class, “Patterned Justice: Design Languages for a Simply Pittsburgh”, is known as after Christopher Alexander’s 1977 city design e book A Sample Language, which asserts: “[T]owns and buildings will be unable to come back alive until they’re made by all folks in society, and until these folks share a standard sample language, inside which to make these buildings.” Griffin builds upon Alexander’s thesis and applies the lens of justice and injustice, and her initiatives replicate the core perception that “problems with a spot and folks [are] distinctly intertwined.”

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11th Street Bridge Park street level rendering
This rendering of the eleventh Avenue Bridge Park exhibits the view from Anacostia Drive. Picture courtesy of OMA+OLIN.
Toni Griffin
Professor Toni L. Griffin attends NY Instances Cities For Tomorrow Convention on July 21, 2015 in New York Metropolis. Photograph by Larry Busacca/Getty Photos for New York Instances.

Repurposing a dilapidated railway trestle as the location for a brand new park connecting Washington D.C.’s socially and economically disparate Ward 6 and Ward 8 on both aspect of the Anacostia River, the eleventh Avenue Bridge mission has been in comparison with New York’s Excessive Line park for its imaginative and prescient to reclaim and reuse websites decimated by city renewal. As Director of Design for the Anacostia Waterfront Company, Griffin was one of many jurors that awarded structure corporations OMA and Olin the profitable design within the eleventh avenue Bridge Park design competitors. Traces of MCM affect are expressed within the split-level construction in addition to the continuity between indoor and out of doors house amongst inexperienced backyard areas, a waterfall characteristic, an environmental studying heart, a efficiency stage and a café. Griffin’s values pushed method can also be evident within the mission which claims values similar to fairness and group, in addition to delight to information the design course of. On the heart of the split-level construction is an iconic “X” form, imbuing that means to the park’s authentic imaginative and prescient to be “an intersection the place communities on either side of the riverwhich have been socially, economically, and politically disparateto converge and coexist.” 

Whereas Griffin’s physique of labor has taken on a large breadth of challenges throughout an unlimited vary of cities, the throughline of all her initiatives is that they’re “rooted in change: change that’s taking place, change that’s wanted, or change that’s being prevented.” Removed from being deterred by patterns of injustice laid down by infrastructure, the initiatives delivered by Griffin and her co-collaborators show that designing with intention and creativeness creates actual prospects for what every group, neighborhood and metropolis can grow to be. 

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To learn extra about modern architects doing thrilling work influenced by MCM fashion, don’t miss Adjaye Associates’ Exemplary Design of the Nationwide Museum of African American Historical past and Tradition. After all, don’t neglect to comply with Atomic Ranch on Instagram, Fb and Pinterest for extra Mid Century Fashionable inspiration!