Guerrilla Project Featured – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Guerrilla Project Featured

The HWS Architecture Society is currently undertaking a huge, project – remodeling a downtown storefront inside and out. While their work has until now gone largely unnoticed, it was recently featured in the Finger Lakes Times.

The article notes: “A ‘guerrilla’ project is supposed to be something like stealth remodeling – it’s supposed to happen quickly, quietly and overnight, explained HWS senior Kate Giglio, the general idea being that the neighbors do not notice the work, just the sudden transformation.

Giglio and classmate Claire Leavengood-Boxer, also a senior, are leading the project.”

The property’s owner, Bob Stivers, is also quoted, “I think it’s awesome.”

The full article is below.


Finger Lakes Times
Guerrilla Project

HWS architecture students fix up Geneva storefront
Heather Swanson • April 19, 2011

GENEVA – Hobart and William Smith Colleges architecture students have been working until the small hours of the morning this month.

They aren’t spending the whole time cramming for exams or preparing final projects, though. The students, members of the Colleges’ Architecture Society, are completing a “guerrilla storefront project” at 112 Seneca St., helping a local property owner give his shop a facelift, inside and out.

The students have spent the last two Thursday nights working until about 2 a.m. on the space and will spend this Thursday there as well.

A “guerrilla” project is supposed to be something like stealth remodeling – it’s supposed to happen quickly, quietly and overnight, explained HWS senior Kate Giglio, the general idea being that the neighbors do not notice the work, just the sudden transformation.

Giglio and classmate Claire Leavengood-Boxer, also a senior, are leading the project.

Since their hammers and scrapers start pounding at about 5 p.m., it’s unlikely that the neighbors haven’t noticed, but neither the students, nor store owner Bob Stivers seem too worried about that aspect of the guerrilla project.

The students chose Stivers’ property on Seneca Street in part because of its location. Seneca Street gets a lot of traffic, Giglio said, which made it a prime spot.

The project was inspired by Syracuse University architecture students, who complete similar projects in downtown Syracuse in an effort to improve the city’s aesthetic appeal.

The work not only improves the city, but it also allows the students a chance to put the skills they have learned in class into practice, according to Leavengood-Boxer.

Stivers, whom the students knew previously because he loaned them another store for studio space last semester, has been watching their progress excitedly. Work includes taking out the drop ceiling to reveal the building’s original tin ceiling above.

“I think it’s awesome,” Stivers said, noting it is impressive to see so many students working at once on the property. Getting the students into downtown Geneva helps the city socially, as well, he said, because it gives business owners a chance to get to know the students, and vice versa.

The Architecture Society will host a Fashion and Art Show in the space on April 30. Part of the show will be a selection of photos that shows the transition of the space. Student artwork will be for sale, and proceeds will benefit relief efforts in Japan.

The HWS Budget Allocation Committee partially funded the project, as did Stivers. After the show, the space will be turned back over to Stivers, who is in the process of planning a business for it. With the jumpstart he now has on the space, he hopes to move forward with his plans in short order.