(and I ask that being something even worse, a design student, myself...)
Lauren Collins has an interesting article in the upcoming issue of the New Yorker concerning a partnership between the New York School of Visual Arts and the World Monuments Fund to restore a Katrina-ravaged home for a widowed grandmother living on fixed means in Bay St. Louis Mississippi. This idea intrigues me (just as Rural Studio is a continual source of inspiration) as it should help to buttress a design education anchored in the rarefied realm of aesthetics with the practical experience of innovating with limited means, and one hopes, a healthy dose of social concern. While I am the last person to advocate a historicist approach to such a project, it seems preferable to the designs that did emerge:
"Adam Greco, a junior wearing a white leather belt and matching loafers, was first up. Using a PowerPoint slide show, he suggested a kaleidoscopic Clarence House wallpaper (“The swirl kind of really evokes the weather and what you’ve been through”) for the center hall, along with six light fixtures (“Seaglass nods to the beauty of nature’s reclamation”) and, in every room, hurricane lamps..."
"Stephen Honeywell, who in normal circumstances considers himself more of a “high-end residential person” than a preservationist, went next. He apologized for having junked the tête-à-tête chair, but he did suggest that Phillips might want to paint the kitchen seafoam green and install a stainless-steel refrigerator with a built-in TV. “I didn’t even know they had that,” Phillips said."
...you know what I'm not even going to continue; you people fill in the critique.