Jul 16, 2012 0
After discovering our fair city’s iconic image, we had to find out who was responsible for capturing the heart of Atlanta and modern social justice. Our communications crew immediately reached out to the national office in San Francisco and a few emails later, we were connected to Steven Wade Brown. Steven lives on a farm in Jackson County, Alabama about 20 miles outside of Chattanooga, TN. He was thrilled to hear from us and has graciously lent his image to us for use on our first ever collection of Architecture for Humanity Atlanta gear at Yellow Llama! To continue the #ilovearchitecture pep rally, we’d love for you to “meet” Steven. We asked him a few questions and he was happy to oblige.
1. Who are you Steven and what do you do?
I’m an Auburn School of Architecture Graduate that worked for 10 years in the Architecture Business as project designer & manager. During that time I designed several award winning buildings. One of which, was the Outdoor Chattanooga Center . I was laid off in 2010 in one of the final cuts from the recession. At that time I began helping other small firms with their graphic presentations. So, after a year I began Architectural Bionics, a formal representation of what I’d been doing in visualization for years.
2. You live on a farm… that would make a few people do a double take as a first impression of the designer of the #ilovearchitecture graphic you created. How did you end up where you are and how does it influence what you do?
I spent my formative years in Miami, Florida. My family had moved there for my father’s work. Growing up there really impacted me, as my father was an electrical contractor who worked on large projects in Miami, like Dolphin Stadium & the People Mover. During the summers my brother and I were essentially helpers and frequently visited job sites. So, I have always been around construction. My freshman year of high school we returned to my family home of Jackson County, Alabama, where I live now. After graduating High School, I felt like Architecture was in my blood so I attended Auburn University, School of Architecture in Auburn, Alabama. Auburn really pushed me to think about design as sustainable places. I think this background in mixing Miami’s mid-century modern with southern regional architecture really took hold and influences anything I design now. I have worked in Chattanooga for the past 10 years, which is approximately 20 miles from my family’s farm. I think living in rural America helps me to integrate things that farms have been doing for years that are suddenly now “sustainable.”
3. What prompted you to submit your design? Considering where you live in and working in Tennessee, what ties to Atlanta do you have that prompted your design direction?
I wanted to submit something because I do believe Cameron’s premise that all those working in architecture, do have this defeatist attitude. I have always encountered this attitude, even before the recession. However, it has definitely reached a fever pitch during the recession. Also, I think Architecture for Humanity does exceptional work for communities worldwide. This is something that Auburn graduates can especially support. So, knowing that Chattanooga didn’t have a chapter I looked for the next closest city, and Atlanta it was. Atlanta is a city we visited every year, while growing up, on our summer trips home to the Tennessee Valley from Miami, FL. Atlanta is a city I continue to visit frequently and have friends who work in the city. So, I have a background and a general knowledge of the city and its history.
4. What was your thought process on creating the design and the selection of the specific images you used?
Before beginning on the image I asked myself a few questions. Who or what is the embodiment of the City of Atlanta? Who or what is a symbol for humanity for/in the city? Architecture for Humanity is essentially equality for all through democracy of design. So, I asked who or what is a symbol of democracy or equality in the city? All answers were the same Martin Luther King, Jr. As much as all southern cities and states will try to claim his as their own because he is still such an inspirational person; he is truly Atlanta’s own. That was the starting point, from there I asked a very talented photographer and friend of mine Walker Scott Moore, www.flickr.com/photos/wizum, to allow me to use one of his skyline photos. The final composition is the idea that all these beautiful buildings and brilliant architecture that you look upon in the city, can be available to everyone. There can be equality of design, if only a few like those at Architecture for Humanity, will begin to move it forward.
5. Why do you support Architecture for Humanity?
I support Architecture for Humanity because I believe it’s the future of the profession. I believe it can be a change agent for both the communities it’s involved in and the professionals who do the work. I look at the effect that Auburn’s Rural Studio has had on the students and community it works in. I think Architecture for Humanity has that same effect on a larger scale.
…it contains the most powerful things this world has, people.”
Inspired? Yep, me too. Gratitude to Steven for supporting us with his amazing image and wise words. Be sure to check out his website Architectural Bionics at www.architecturalbionics.com. After that, skip on over to the Architecture for Humanity Atlanta page at Yellow Llama to cop a fresh AFH Atlanta t-shirt or tote bag. We receive 25% from all purchases so make sure you tell a friend and then wear your support to the Birdhouse Social on Saturday August 18, 2012!