CAA Partners to Launch Program to Acknowledge Cultural Diaspora in Idaho
September 09, 2020
MOSCOW, Idaho — Sept. 9, 2020 — The University of Idaho’s College of Art and Architecture has entered into a partnership to help conceptualize a home for a museum in Boise dedicated to telling the story of diaspora groups — people who have been forcibly removed or dispersed from their homelands.
The partnership includes the Idaho Museum of International Diaspora (IMID) — a nonprofit focused on honoring and sharing the stories of global diaspora and homecoming in Idaho — and Cushing Terrell — an architecture and engineering firm with offices in Boise and across the U.S. that will provide professional support for the students and participating design studios.
For the Fall 2020 semester, CAA students from fourth-year professional programs in architecture and interior architecture will research and explore site options and the iterative design process as part of interdisciplinary, collaborative design studios. The project offers an immersive learning experience with integration of stakeholder narratives and identities, case study research and documentation through both journaling and video production to be shared via digital channels.
“The goal of the program is not only to develop compelling conceptual designs for IMID, but to give students an opportunity to tell a story through the design journey — just as IMID will tell the stories of people from different cultures, their journeys and of place making in Idaho,” said Rula Awwad-Rafferty, program head and professor of Interior Architecture and Design, whose students are participating in the project.
Also participating are students from Professor Anne Marshall’s architecture class. Marshall researches museum design and Indigenous cultures.
“This is a phenomenal opportunity for students to design such a significant cultural facility whose aim is to represent and serve people from throughout the world,” said Marshall. “This opportunity is enhanced greatly by interaction with design professionals from Cushing Terrell.”
The multi-phase design project will engage a variety of local, national and international partners for input throughout the program.
“We believe this partnership provides a significant opportunity to foster equity and diversity within the education and practice of architecture and design,” said Jason Butler, Cushing Terrell principal. “We’re excited to support the students in this process and contribute to an inspiring cultural and community resource in the Treasure Valley.”
In February, IMID and CAA launched an initial visioning session for the program in which the organizations agreed on collaborating and discussed the vision for multipurpose built environment designs with a variety of offerings and spaces. These would include a grand global gallery in the museum to host the work of artists who represent the 123 countries of origin and distinct peoples who’ve made Idaho their home, an international food district, theater, international library and botanical garden.
“Working with these amazing partners, I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to progress my vision for IMID, which was inspired by my own experience as a former refugee from Laos,” said Palina Louangketh, IMID founder and executive director.
The collaboration will be beneficial to the students participating, offering them real-world professional experience at the undergraduate level.
“We’re excited and humbled to be a part of Palina’s vision for the IMID to celebrate cultural diaspora in Idaho,” said Shauna Corry, dean of the College of Art and Architecture. “Partnering with the IMID and Cushing Terrell provides an important real-world learning opportunity for our students through the visioning of such an innovative and inspiring building.”
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The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at uidaho.edu.