By: Kyle Niblett

University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning Associate Professor Martin Gold, UF School of Architecture student Kaley Denaro and Gainesville architect Mauro Parlavecchio placed second in the American Institute of Architects Flint 2022 Design Competition, the organization announced recently. The theme of this year’s annual competition focused on developing the existing Flint Municipal Center Campus into a vibrant, mixed use, walkable community.

The group took home second place with their entry entitled, “Driving Flint: Getting to a Vibrant Downtown,” which would spur greater public use and bring further investment to the downtown area. The proposed visionary changes to propel the “Vehicle City” toward a vibrant urban center included robust residential occupation, neighborhood commerce, parks and recreation and emphasis on the historic integrity of the existing municipal modern buildings that recall the optimism and successes of Flint’s past.

“These types of competitions allow architects and academics to learn about the challenges cities such as Flint experience, while providing an opportunity for our discipline to offer optimism and possibility through research and design,” Gold said. “Our team studied multiple alternatives before forming a cohesive strategy that we felt would drive development and offer an inspiring place to live, work, and play in Flint’s downtown. The city of Flint received many visioning concepts, and we are honored to be among those chosen for award.”

Driving Flint successfully demonstrated a concept of how a city’s municipal center could be supported and maintained via the revenues generated through the creation of a lively live, work and play experience. The DCP-led group looked both forward and in the rear-view mirror, calibrating historic urbanism (pre-automobile), the mid-century automobile-inspired city, and a future that reconciles the necessity of auto-mobility, walkability and livability for a viable healthy community. As a result, their award-winning submission will now serve as a guide to help the city understand some of the needs within the community, while also demonstrating the desire for greater density downtown.

“Professor Gold’s success in the Flint 2022 Design Competition exemplifies the School of Architecture’s commitment to civic engagement in our creative work and scholarship,” School of Architecture Director David Rifkind said. “His leadership of a team that included SoA student Kaley Denaro and architect Mauro Parlavecchio exemplifies the school’s ethos of collaboration.”

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