Podium Renderings

These are some renderings done in Podium which is a Plugin for SketchUp.

Unity Village(Case Study)- Immigrants in Greensboro

Immigrants in Greensboro
Clairissa Anderson, Ino Loloci, Meghan Kaufmann

Culture as defined by E. B. Tylor is "that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society" So, if that is true than can we as designers assume that humans can adapt their previous ways of living into another culture?

Over the last few hundred years, North Carolina was traditionally thought to have been inhabited by blacks and whites. Both the black and white long-term populations reflect a variety of customs and cultures from Europe and Africa, which have constituted our immigrant populations (cnnc.uncg.edu). Contrary to observation, a majority of North Carolinians originally came from pre-existing Native American tribes or later in the 1500s from Spain. The Spaniards came to the Americas as missionaries and decided to stay. Today, according to the Census Bureau, a large portion of incoming North Carolinians hail from Asian and Latino countries. So why is it that even after hundreds of years such diverse cultures are still attracted to this area?
Immigrants are moving to Greensboro, North Carolina because of the plethora of opportunities provided for them in this area. One of the major reasons is that the cost of living is cheaper than the more traditional areas immigrants used to move to. Areas such as Boston, New York and Los Angles are becoming densely populated and the opportunities for jobs are simply no longer present. In addition to this, Greensboro has many labor jobs that are more readily available for individuals in search of work. These factors create economic stability, which greatly impact the decision of individuals to move to this area.
Psychologically, there are multiple reasons immigrants enjoy living in Greensboro. To some, the availability of a quality education for their children is better than where they previously lived. One man was quoted as saying: “I want to give my children more commodities, a better opportunity, not only for themselves, but also, if not more so, for their children. I don’t want them to have to worry about economics like when we were young. I only want them to worry about their education, something we did not get.” After enrolling their children in school, immigrants are more likely to feel involved and connected to this country and their local school district. Through community involvement and diversity represented at public schools, immigrants have a better chance of meeting others from their homeland. In most scenarios, individuals tend to create communities from common interests. This thought was expressed deeper in Saint Augustine’s The City of the Gods, where he stated: “A community is a group of people united by the common objects of their love.”
One might assume that the current immigration debate may deter Mexicans, and other immigrants, from moving to this country. However, this does not seem to be the case. According to Shultz’s 2008 article titled, The Lives of Latino Immigrant Males in Rural Central Kentucky, many Mexican immigrants do not feel as though they are discriminated against. However, they make clear that they do not interact with Americans often outside of work. "The local people are friendly and none of us have experienced any feelings of exclusion or discrimination. The main thing separating us from the local community right now is the language, but that's it.” (Gilded). This shows that immigrants feel comfortable living here and want to stay for the opportunities they have.
In most cases, the physicality here, in the United States, allows for better opportunities than their homeland did. Individuals are able to purchase homes that can accommodate all family members under one roof. The average Mexican household is larger than the typical American, thus creating a greater need for space. However, not all cultures require the large room sizes that Americans want. Because of cultural differences, immigrants with large families are able to adapt to the typical American family-of-four sized home. For example, six young Mexican men share a two bedroom, one bath apartment in Kentucky, a similar environment to Greensboro, NC (Inside the Gilded Cage). One cultural difference, such as the American need for personal private space, is why immigrants are able to bypass the need for larger homes. This allows them to save money for other daily needs.
For most people, the cost of living and job opportunities affect where they choose to move. The same is true for the immigrant population because of the economic differences. After moving to the United States, most immigrants change their field of work not because of their newly found freedoms, but because of the restrictions the American government has placed on them. Restrictions that affect settlers include language barriers and having young families. Both of these restrictions make it difficult for settlers to communicate their needs; thus settling for jobs that are different from their previous homeland employment.
As for most states, the cost of living changes from city to city, which can also be said for country to country. Ino Loloci, an immigrant, noted that the major difference between living in Greensboro and his homeland is the ownership of homes. He said, “In my home country, you or your family owns the house you live in… Here you pay rent or mortgage.” He later went on to say, “Homes in the north of the United States seem to cost more than homes in the South. Down here, it is easy to have a job that is enough to cover the living expenses and save a little bit of money too.”
Another difference stated by the immigrant above is that of climate and building materials. Temperature and precipitation change from country to country and also have an impact on a building’s design and structure. An example of this may be seen in areas with more tropical climates, where there are open-air structures without screen or glass enclosures. Most of these structures are made of local stone and clay. Open-air structures are usually made of these materials because they act as great insulators, allowing hot days to feel cooler, and vice versa. In contrast, Greensboro endures all four seasons causing the structures to be enclosed. Common materials used here are steel, concrete and wood. These materials are more readily available and can resist weather elements.
This difference in housing form and structure alters the way inhabitants choose to live their life. One Mexican man stated that homes in Mexico usually had large front lawns and porches that would invite neighbors and family into the home. But here in America homes tend to appear smaller on the outside and larger on the interior. Another anxiety for the immigrants are screened in windows. Because of North Carolina’s marshy wetlands and ever changing seasons, homes have to have screens and glass windows to keep mosquitoes, vermin, and other pests out. However, the psychological affect of having screened windows can and has caused individuals to feel trapped and less connected to the outdoor elements.
Immigrants choose to move to this area in search of the American dream. They have more opportunity here for jobs and education. The transition from their homeland to the U.S. is hard, but they find their lives improved. This causes them to stay and invest their lives and families into this country. Their homes here are usually very different but they learn to adapt their needs to these new spaces.


Shultz, B.. (2008). Inside the Gilded Cage: The Lives of Latino Immigrant Males in Rural Central Kentucky. Southeastern Geographer, 48(2), 201-218. Retrieved February 16, 2010, from Research Library. (Document ID: 1590598701

BUCHANAN, SUZANNE STAR, M.S. Adaptations of Home: Mexican, Montagnard and Sudanese Immigrants’ Use of Space in Greensboro, NC. (2007) Directed by Dr. Patrick Lee Lucas. 85 pp.

Walking Downtown

I took a picture of this place downtown when I was looking for people to interview about the Community Video. It is a really closed space but it's has color, texture and it seems like there is a lot of space. Color does make a difference.

Housing and Community

People have different views of defining neighborhood and community. One says community is a network of social interaction and bonding. Cloyne Court Hotel is an example where people interact with each other where they share common interests and interact in some way. There are many aspects that go into a comprehensive plan that develop a community where people get affected from such as demographics, economic factors, land use and zoning, housing and neighborhood quality, infrastructure, government services, visual, cultural, environmental factors, recreation, visions, goals and objectives. Zoning process was an interesting model to understand each step as an owner would go through to change a plan of their house.
Neighborhood satisfaction is influenced by factors such as personal, physical, social, segregation and safety factors. The planned unit development (PUD) creates residential neighborhoods that can produce more profits for the developer and builder and they also provide better environment for the people. They mix residential development with commercial/retail property which expands the community. People also benefit for paying less in large house for less money. Neighborhood satisfaction is higher when residents believe their current neighborhood is an improvement. You could see that in the gated neighborhoods where people feel safer, there is more green space, and there is not much traffic route. People have different perspectives of a community and the developers are challenged to provide housing opportunities by the local regulations and satisfactory to those who live in them.

Wrapping up the ->Makeshift Shelter<-

Photos by: Stephanie Brooker

The Makeshift Shelter experience can challenge the body and mind and inform your design decisions. I will remember this project because it was hands-on into building it full-scale not just a model, it challenged me as a designer to consider different ways an idea would work and think about the next step to be done to that idea to develop the design from the concept. It challenged me how to organize the interior for a person with the specific activity one would be doing inside that shelter (studying) and to make the shelter strong enough to stand with the materials we had. This project made me aware that when we work in our individual projects sometimes we do not always have to go and buy stuff but we can recycle the materials from the previous projects.


->Makeshift Shelter<-