First English Lutheran Church
Syracuse, New York
Professors Kathy Stribley, Robin Hoffman and Anthony Miller, Spring 2003
The CCDR was contacted by Reverend Craig Herrick from the First English Lutheran Church (FELC) who was interested in examining the potential of creating an urban park in the open space adjacent to his church. This service-learning project was undertaken by the third year undergraduate design studio in the spring of 2003.
Before meeting with community members, students learned about the historic qualities of the church, which was designed by noted local architect Archimedes Russell and completed in 1911. Students also participated in a site walk given by one of the church members, providing insight into the congregation's goals and concerns. After learning about participatory methods and workshop activities, students facilitated the first workshop with church members. This workshop introduced church members to the site design project and allowed individuals to share with students and each other information about existing conditions, concerns, and opportunities. This gathering allowed for dialogue between church members and students in which church members were able to tell stories and to brainstorm about ideas for the park site.
Students organized and summarized the information shared during the workshop and developed a basic program to guide the remainder of the design process. An interim presentation was organized to allow students to present their ideas to the church pastors before developing their final design proposals. In April 2003 a final review was held at FELC during which the church community could review the designs, each of which was depicted in both model and drawing form .
This process has allowed students to further develop their site design skills and has provided the First English Lutheran Church with a variety of design options for the phased redevelopment of a significant urban neighborhood open space.
During the summer of 2003, a report documenting the design process and describing the outcomes was prepared to assist the church in deciding which program elements and ideas they will pursue.