On February 29th, 2012, an early morning tornado killed seven residents of Harrisburg, Illinois, and destroyed 143 homes and several businesses. Preliminarily listed by the National Weather Service as an FE4, the tornado had wind speeds topping at 180 mph. The Golden Circle Senior Wellness Center was completely destroyed in the storm. Along with the loss of records, photos of local veterans, and pool tables, the senior food program, serving 80 lunches from the Center's dining room and preparing an additional 120 lunches for the local Meals on Wheels program, was crippled. During the past several months, Golden Circle has temporarily moved their operations to the Dorrisville Baptist Church while they arrange funding to rebuild.
On August 11, 2012, volunteers from Architecture for Humanity Chicago met with George Cain, the architect of record for the Golden Circle Senior Center reconstruction, and representatives from the Center. The purpose of the charrette and Architecture for Humanity Chicago's involvement was to document the vision for the new Golden Circle Senior Wellness Center through renderings and diagrams.
The final project deliverable, a visioning booklet, contains the results of that meeting. This booklet will also be handed over to George Cain, AIA, of Crawford, Murphy, and Tilly, the architect of record, to be used as a reference of the charrette and discussions with Golden Circle during his creation of construction documents. Download the Visioning Booklet (PDF, 2.9Mb)
Left: April 2012 assessment of Harrisburg damage, image by Bill Gnech; Right: August 11 Visioning Charrette with Golden Circle Floor plan and program Left: Perspective alternative; Right: Entrance alternative and donor wall
The Golden Circle Senior Center was leveled by the February 29, 2012, tornadoes which swept through Harrisburg, Illinois.
Through subsequent receipt of a construction grant and insurance money, the Center has raised $800,000 - most of the way to their $1M goal to rebuild a permanet center serving 150-250 people each day.
Still, $1 million doesn't leave much room for amenities.
With the funds Architecture for Humanity has raised from private donations since the disaster, we will be issuing a grant to the Architecture for Humanity Chicago Chapter to work with residents of Golden Circle and provide services that would not otherwise be afforded through funds the Center has raised for construction.
In the coming weeks, representatives of the Chicago chapter will conduct design charrettes with members of the Golden Circle community and identify specifically how to maximize use of the funding available through Architecture for Humanity.
Through the intense, informative collaboration of the charrette, the Chapter can isolate what would most benefit the senior center, and take the necessary steps to outline how to make it possible. Chicago architect and Harrisburg native George Cain has agreed to apply his expertise toward executing the project, along with the Chapter.
We're anxious to see this initiative take shape as Golden Circle begins to rebuild, and will endeavor to collect more funding to grow the size of the grant. The larger the award, the more we can accomplish.
Efforts assisting Harrisburg have recently focused on the reconstruction of a senior center.
The Chicago component of the American Institute of Architects has engaged several of its members in working with the Golden Circle Center to rebuild. The Chicago chapter of Architecture for Humanity has assisted the coordination of these efforts.
The Chicago-based effort assisting Harrisburg is part of a nation-wide Disaster Recovery and Response Program launched jointly by the American Institute of Architects and Architecture for Humanity. The Program is assembling resources through partnerships between locally-based AIA components and AfH chapters to coordinate advocacy, education and training and help architects make effective contributions to communities preparing for, responding to and rebuilding after disaster.
The new partnership/disaster program has enabled open communication between the AIA and Architecture for Humanity for this project, streamlining architect intervention in Harrisburg's recovery. For more information on the Partnership, visit architectsrebuild.org
Over 100 tornadoes touched down the weekend of April 14-15 as part of a massive storm system passing through the Midwest.
The town of Woodward, Oklahoma, was the worst hit, destroying 89 homes and 13 businesses in the community of 12,000. In Wichita, 100 homes were damaged, mostly those in trailer parks. Tornadoes touched down in many parts of Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. 37 counties in Kansas have been declared disaster areas.
While storm season is in full swing, people are speculating whether the weather this year is abnormally severe. A Time Science article suggests that due to relatively recent trend of exhaustive storm coverage it is difficult to say. The 2012 tornado death toll has already exceeded the national average - this before May, the heaviest month for storms in mid-America.
Rigorous early warning procedures had cautioned of severe weekend weather and is thought to have spared many more injuries and deaths.
Architecture for Humanity is reaching out to local chapters for a follow up to assess needed design services.
More reading: Weekend tornadoes leave 'a royal mess' in Midwest; 6 dead, USA Today The Weekend of 100 Tornadoes: Are Killer Storms Being Fueled by Climate Change?, TimeScience Tornado Hits Wichita's Ailing Aviation Industry, NPR
On March 30, representatives of Architecture for Humanity and the AIA met with officials of the City of Harrisburg, Illinois, the site of tremendous tornado damage occurring on February 29. The discussion assessed the needs of the town, as immediate relief winds down, clean up continues and discussions of the long-term needs and prospects of the community begin.
Harrisburg's own Daily Register recounts the discussion:http://www.dailyregister.com/news/x221039248/Architecture-for-Humanity-helping-city-rebuild-renovate
Below are the meeting notes in full:
On Friday, March 30th, 2012, George Cain, AIA, of Crawford, Murphy and Tilly (CMT) and Kristi Pearson, IIDA of Hellmuth Obata Kassabaum (HOK), both representing Architecture for Humanity (AfH) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) met with City of Harrisburg officials, Ron Crank - Commissioner, Bill Summers – Fire Chief and Rick Mallady – Emergency Management Administrator/Fire Department, along with Harrisburg’s Daily Register Reporter, Jon Musgrave. Bill Gnech, Architectural Photographer for the Apple Group and representing AfH accompanied the group and photographed the disaster sites while the group met.
The meeting included the introduction of AfH and the AIA and the organizations’ offer to assist the City of Harrisburg by providing design services and/or financial assistance. The group was given AfH’s website address. The group discussed the following issues:
At the conclusion of the meeting, the group met with Bill Gnech for a tour of the damaged sites and additional photos. A map of the disaster areas was provided.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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