Society’s Cage: Architects Use Data to Visualize Systemic Injustice

George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s murders were clarion calls for Dayton Schroeter, AIA, and Julian Arrington at SmithGroup, and their travelling exhibit, “Society’s Cage,” was their response to three related questions: what is the value of Black life, what is the nature of power in this country, and what is the relationship of Black people to power structures in our country? The experience of visiting Society’s Cage centers on entering a 15’x15’ cube comprised of steel rods of varying lengths suspended within a series of rods that form a four-sided curtain. Visitors don’t move through the curtain so much as they contend with it. Our view in, out, or through the cube is fractured, striated, and ultimately governed by an unremitting and unforgiving structure. The metaphor is obvious, and that’s the point. Schroeter and Arrington wanted visitors to its first installment on the National Mall last summer to visualize power and understand how it contorts vision, body, and movement.

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Wake Technical Community College Parking Deck

In 2012 Wake Tech Community College (WTCC) began a significant expansion of their North Campus to meet the needs of a growing region and demand for education and training services. To densify the campus, the long-term master plan called for these new facilities to displace existing surface parking and provide new structured parking at the perimeter of campus.

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Elon W. Rhodes Early Learning Center

VMDO’s Elon W. Rhodes Early Learning Center is uniquely designed to facilitate experiential learning as a means to holistically grow social skills, coordination, and sensory development. Measured risk-tasking related to play, touch, sight, taste, smell, and listening are encouraged. With a curriculum based on cognitive development, the Early Learning Center (ELC) encourages curiosity and inquiry in young learners to inspire lifelong learning.

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UMD’s Iribe Center: A Campus Gateway

The Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Maryland (UMD) represents a new type of STEM anchor for an academic campus. Part institute, part innovation center, part student commons, it houses both the Department of Computer Science and the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS).

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Project Profile: Bicentennial Hall

Francis Scott Key Hall, located on the campus of the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia, was officially dedicated and renamed Bicentennial Hall in November of 2019. Photo by Anice Hoachlander.

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Cavalier Hotel Rehabilitation

From the day it opened in 1927 until World War II, the Cavalier Hotel was one of the premier resort locations on the East Coast, hosting all the great names of the Big Band Era as well as dozens of celebrities and U.S. Presidents. Its unusual Y-shaped plan, which was intended to maximize views of the ocean, was considered innovative for its time and the neo-classical design drew heavily on Virginia history and Jeffersonian influences.

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Cradle to Cradle Design for Occupant Wellbeing: Plantronics European HQ

When Plantronics selected Park 20|20 in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands, as the site for their new European headquarters, their primary objective was to focus on employees’ health and wellbeing through innovative, human-centered design — a familiar territory for the pioneering audio and communications technology leader which provided the tech that allowed Neil Armstrong to transmit his famous first words on the moon. Recently acquired by Poly, Plantronics collaborated closely with Charlottesville, Va.- based design architect and Park 20|20 masterplanner William McDonough + Partners (WM+P), to create a Cradle to Cradle-inspired workplace. The result is a building that promotes a perfect balance between wellness and productivity through design strategies that benefit both human and environmental health focused on safe-then-circular materials, user comfort and connectivity to nature.

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