by Linda Dottor — September 2nd, 2014 | Volunteers
Meet our volunteer super couple! This spring, architect Alexa Bosse and her husband, landscape architect Ari Miller, led the Collaborative volunteer team in generating a plan for a pop-up park in Frankford. The result is a vibrant design that uses sound activated lights and a whirlwind of “loud screaming pink” to turn a forgotten space into an entirely unique experience.
Their design will be installed in Frankford for the spring of 2015, through the Destination Frankford initiative. The Frankford CDC is hopeful that this temporary park will lead to the construction of a permanent park in the future. As Ari explained, “When you get it out there and people fall in love with it… Then that’s it. You don’t have to do anything else.”
Listening as an active activity
As they see their plans beginning to come to life, Alexa and Ari sat down with us to explain their design process and experience with the Collaborative. The volunteer role within a Collaborative project begins with visiting the site and leading a community meeting. Ari described how in these early meetings, “the client came with their preconceived notions about the space, and we came with our preconceived notions about the client—which were completely blown away.”
These meetings require effective communication, and Ari said, “Listening is not a passive activity, it’s an active activity. That’s something that’s really hard to master, and it’s something that the Collaborative has allowed us to hone and practice listening to clients and communities. That’s the lesson we’ve learned, what we’ve gotten better at over time.” Alexa added, “You’re not just volunteering; you’re learning stuff as well.”
Through this listening process, Alexa and Ari discovered that the Frankford community was willing to take risks, and wanted to do something bold with their space. This was exciting to the design team because, as Ari puts it, “very rarely do you get a client that really wants to do something wild. This gave us a great deal of license. A lot of the credit for the design goes to the Frankford CDC as much as it does the design team, because of their ambition to have something that was unusual and bold and unique.”
Jumping up and down!
With their client in mind, the Collaborative team explored options for creating a vibrant neighborhood attraction. When they presented their initial ideas in a later meeting, the bold pink design was an unmistakable success.
How did they know? “Because they were jumping up and down!” Read Full Story