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In the Spring of 2014, Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) and College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) launched design/REbuild, an undergraduate-level design-build studio for reclaiming abandoned housing in Cleveland. Design/REbuild complements the CUDC’s work on the Re-imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland initiative, a project that has become a national model for the strategic reuse and reclamation of vacant urban land. This project will build on on-going efforts to reclaim vacant land in the city and explore new approaches for reinventing vacant housing. In order to truly “re-imagine” Cleveland, we need to think about the city’s existing housing stock, not just its vacant land. 

It is the hypothesis of the design/REbuild studio that design brings value, and may help others re-envision the possibilities for Cleveland's undervalued housing stock. Cleveland loses thousands of houses to demolition every year. Can new design and construction ideas breathe life back into some of these houses?

For the program's first house, the design/REbuild studio partnered with the St Clair Superior Development Corporation to redesign and renovate a house in the St Clair Superior neighborhood. Undergraduate architecture & interior design students worked in design studios in Spring 2014 and 2015 to reimagine the existing vacant house, and both summers the University held a construction-based Field Study to physically renovate the house. At the end of the renovation, the house will be put on the market, and the proceeds from the sale will fund the next house in the same neighborhood.

The project is generously funded by the George Gund Foundation, the Sears-Swetland Family Foundation, the Helen Brown Fund, and Sandvick Architects, with pro bono support from VIP Renovation, Inc and donations from 84 Lumber and Sherwin-Williams.