AIAS Freedom by Design Students Partner with Settled

September 23, 2021

A collaboration between student-group AIAS Freedom by Design and the non-profit Settled has led to a brand new storage shed for the future Settled community at Mosaic Christian Community Church.

As the community service arm of the University’s American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) chapter, Freedom by Design (FBD) leverages design students’ talents to work on volunteer projects that benefit the community and, in turn, gives design students the opportunity to serve their community and gain real world experience.

Led by FBD Director Rachel Kadidlo (BS ‘21, Arch), the group partnered with Research Fellow Daniel Handeen (CSBR) to design and construct the 10’x16’ storage shed, which will be used to store outdoor tools and equipment for the settlement. For this most recent project, students started construction in June 2021 and finished in early August using facilities and equipment provided by the College of Design Fabrication Shop and Mosaic Christian Community Church.

“This year’s Freedom By Design project was especially valuable to our student volunteers who have missed in-person collaboration throughout the virtual learning era,” said Kadidlo. “Our group designed the shed virtually throughout the Spring of 2021 and had the opportunity to come together in person over the summer to build the project. FBD is incredibly grateful for Prof. Handeen’s mentorship, the Settled organization’s support, and the Mosaic Church community for giving students the chance to see a project from an idea to a finished building and have a lot of fun along the way!”

Settled tool shed built by AIAS Freedom by Design students.
The final toolshed built by AIAS Freedom by Design.

Co-founded by Ph.D candidate Gabrielle Clowdus (Housing Studies), Settled is a Twin Cities-based non-profit that began within the Minnesota Design Center and focuses on welcoming the homeless into a supportive community using a “community first” approach. While a more traditional approach to homelessness is focused on providing shelter and professional services, or a “housing first” approach, a community first approach is an alternative that focuses not only on providing shelter but on meeting relational and social needs in a holistic way.

“Many people see the plight of the homeless and want to help, but feel the problem is too great for their efforts to make a difference. The beauty of a ‘community’ approach is that there’s room at the table for everyone. We tell folks, come with your unique superpower and see how your part can make a difference. And that’s just what the Freedom by Design folks did—they brought their superpowers of designing and building and made what will become a lasting impact on the lives of those living at Sacred Settlement Mosaic.”

Organizers of the future Mosaic Christian Community Church Settlement hope to begin housing people before the end of the year. Learn more about the Mosaic Settlement.

The front of the toolshed built by AIAS Freedom by Design.
The front of the toolshed built by AIAS Freedom by Design.

This project was made possible through the support of the Mosaic Christian Community; Settled; Jourdan, John, & Brandon from the Mosaic Christian Community; and CeeJay Provo. Freedom by Design participants included: Rachel Kadidlo (Director), Julia Luke (Project Manager), Vanessa Shimada (Secretary), Christopher Larson (Treasurer), Noah Suchy (Board Member), Nathan Novotny (Board Member), Adam Gardner, Sydney Holmes, Charlie Kuok, Audrey Kleinschmidt, and Kent Loiseaux-Purcell.

After nearly three years of work, College of Design student group AIAS Freedom by Design installed and unveiled a set of playground instruments for Karner Blue Education Center this May.

As the summer winds down so does the typical growing season for Minnesotan gardeners and growers. But not for the five Deep Winter Greenhouses designed by Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR) Research Fellow Daniel Handeen.

It’s one thing for your final project to stand up to final reviews, but quite another for it to withstand heavy outdoor use by generations of children!