HWS has a strong link to the Geneva community and students often find mutually beneficial ways to be more involved with the community. Over the course of the past year, architecture students Christian Martinez ’13 and Elva Ye ’13 did so by working as interns for the Geneva Neighborhood Resource Center (GNRC).
“We work on empowering residents to take charge and make improvements to their city,” says Sage Gerling, the director of the Office of Neighborhood Initiatives. The GNRC works with members of the Geneva community, with help from HWS students, to create a better, more beautiful city.
Martinez and Ye designed a logo for the newly named Founders Square neighborhood. Previously known as Washington Park, this neighborhood is home to many students living off-campus, as well as the historic Washington Street Cemetery. The new name for this neighborhood is a reference to its streets that are named for our Founding Fathers.
The purpose of the new logo was to represent the physical characteristics of the neighborhood, as well as the spirit of the residents. Many of the other Geneva neighborhoods have identically shaped sign toppers, but each is individual in color and design.
“There were several stages which led to the final design, many of which included meeting with the Founders Square Neighborhood Association to receive feedback that guided us through the design process,” explains Martinez.
The final design is “reminiscent of the old Washington Cemetery gate,” says Gerling.
Martinez and Ye had free reign over the design of the logo, and residents of the neighborhood “gravitated to it, because it had that historic element,” Gerling explains. The now-completed logo can be seen on top of street signs in the neighborhood, which is adjacent to the north end of the HWS campus.
Along with designing the Founders Square logo, Martinez and Ye also worked on other projects around the Geneva community, such as designing new gates for the Washington Park Cemetery, and creating a small park in the Arbors neighborhood. They also developed a proposal for the introduction of “parklets” on Linden Street. These parklets, which are extensions of a sidewalk that create a more pedestrian-friendly street, are expected to be built by future GNRC summer interns.
“We heavily rely on the HWS architectural studies department to complete these projects,” says Gerling.
The GNRC hosts summer interns for the purpose of getting them directly involved with the Geneva community, and encourages more HWS students to be involved during the academic year.
“We find projects based on what students are interested in,” says Gerling, who is currently working with students to gather real estate data in order to map improvements to the Geneva housing market.
“The internship was a great opportunity for me to get to know the City of Geneva,” says Ye, who appreciated the real experience students received at GNRC that they might not have at a larger architecture firm. “We weren’t just getting coffee. The things we designed actually got built.”