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By Kathryn Platt (BS ARCH 2020)

On April 8th, School of Architecture students got the chance to make their designs a reality with an ADA ramp build in the Egleston Square Peace Garden.

Students had a hand in every part of the build, using drills to secure stringers and decking, pouring concrete, and re-landscaping the surrounding area. The experience also taught students important lessons about making design changes in the field. Student volunteers included Alex Bondi, Josie Cerbone, Alexis Cook, Cyrus Dahmubed, Kim Dela Cruz, Osimhe Enike-Ekhelar, Ryan Harris, Ciaran Hedderman, Nebai Hernandez-Carmona, Daniela Hernandez Belloso, Natalie Hoch, Collin Horner, Ali Horwitz, Gloria Mobolaji, John Morana, Bianca Rabbie, Brett Shifflett, Kristen Starheim, and Jacob Zuch.

Contractors from Skanska assisted with tools and safety on site, with support from the group’s advisor, Assistant Professor David Fannon, and faculty members Michael Smith (assistant Teaching Professor) and Michelle Laboy (Assistant Professor). The ramp was designed by the Design/Build (formerly Freedom by Design) E-Board: Katerie Boursiquot, Rachael Gerry, Ali Horwitz, Kathryn Platt and Luke Viscusi. Both David Fannon as well as Associate Professor Peter Wiederspahn lent their design services, helping the team to prepare construction drawings.

The ramp’s site, the Egleston Square Peace Garden, is run by Luis Cotto of Egleston Square Main Streets. It was created as a memorial to the neighborhood’s youth who died as a result of street violence. With the help of community volunteers, what was once a vacant lot has been transformed into a wonderful gathering space. Design/Build’s project, initiated by recent School of Architecture graduate Natalia Escobar, is part of the park’s latest phase of development. It services an outdoor stage previously constructed by YouthBuild on which concerts, movie screenings, and other community events are held.