by Elliot Sperling, URS ’14
On September 14, 2010 Cornell University Sustainable Design (CUSD) Project School House conducted its first general body meeting. Formerly known as the Cornell University Solar Decathlon, the organization has rebranded itself to reflect a new focus on socially motivated sustainable urban development projects. Cornell is the first U.S. university to work with Education Africa on an entirely new pilot project. Cornell students will be working in an interdisciplinary manner to conduct research and site analysis for a new day care center to be constructed in Cosmo City, South Africa. With the help of engineers, planners, architects, landscape architects, and business majors the project will be completed this summer. For its roughly 40 members, CUSD has set a fundraising goal of $200,000 for its School House South Africa project.
During the meeting, the two faculty advisors, Professor Kifle Gebremedhim and Professor Jeremy Foster, presented their knowledge on much of the challenges and the opportunities in regards to the large-scale region, Johannesburg Metropolitan Area, and specifically with the building design. As a project it is going to be designed in a way that it is built in the most environmentally friendly and cost effective way possible, while serving as a fully functional amenity for the community. Many challenges exist in the area due to the built environment, as the area has a lack of transportation and a largely divided metropolitan region. These issues will have to be contended with as the project begins to take form.