Saroki Team Participation in HKS Design Fellowship

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This month, Saroki Architecture was privileged to have two team members participate in the HKS Design Fellowship Midwest VI. Mark Farlow, our firms’ principal, was invited to be a juror for the event, while I was chosen to be one of the event’s eight design fellows. The HKS Design Fellowship is a global event, incorporating employees from HKS offices worldwide. However, the Midwest VI Fellowship is a regional effort only, and focuses on design challenges based in our region.

As a participant in the regional fellowship, my team of three other fellows and I were presented with a challenge that requested the design of a memorial remembering the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 to be built on the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office property. I was honored to be given such a unique opportunity to be influential in the memorialization of such a critical and emotional event in American and World History. As a part of the memorial challenge, we were asked to incorporate relics of the events of that day, including a piece of steel from the World Trade Center, a piece of limestone from the Pentagon, and a small boulder and soil sample from the plane crash in a Shanksville field.  As an extension of the memorial, we were asked to incorporate future considerations for the site and propose a master plan as well.

Our fellowship began on a Friday night, with a visit to the HKS office in Northville, MI. It was then that I was introduced to the HKS staff and seven other design fellows, divided into two team for the project, and introduced to the project itself.  Early next morning, we reconvened back that the HKS offices before departing to the Oakland County Sherriff’s Office for a site visit. This was a great opportunity to get a better feel of the memorial’s necessary location and scale in comparison to the existing site developments and memorials.  Back at the office, we discussed our site findings and initial thoughts on the project over lunch, before launching into our individual teams work on the project. As for my team, we worked great together, talking through and sketching out our ideas for the project. By the end of the day, we had the majority of our project’s details worked out, and made a list of our goals to be accomplished for the following day.  We started the day Sunday by finalizing some details of our design as a group, before switching into production mode and creating our deliverable images for the project. My individual contributions to our deliverables included work on the master plan, as well as night and day experiential images of the memorial design. In addition to these, and with the help of my teammates, we were able to produce a to-scale mockup of a portion of our memorial, a site plan, a memorial elevation, and a detailed rendering of the artifacts incorporation into the memorial.  We had our deliverables finished and printed just short of our midnight deadline.

Monday evening, Fellows, Jurors, and HKS Staff all convened at the HKS office  for the presentation of our deliverables. The evening began with a social hour between guests and  was accompanied by Hors d’oeuvre and drinks provided by HKS. The presentation began with an introduction to the fellowship and the project by the HKS team, followed by the presentation of deliverables by the two fellow teams. The jurors were made up of a number of esteemed professionals and academics in the field, including, as I mentioned, Saroki’s own Mark Farlow. Each of the jurors were able to contribute thoughtful and knowledgeable feedback on the projects, both beneficial to the design fellows and client, who was also in attendance. HKS ended the evening with gifts of participation to both the fellows and jurors.

Again, we here at Saroki were honored to be a part of such a unique opportunity to partner with another local firm to contribute to their efforts of continued growth and education with the field of design in the Midwestern region. We would like to thank HKS for our invitations to participate in this exciting initiative of their firm, and encourage others to seek participation in this wonderful opportunities in future years.

For more information| HKS Design Fellowship

Best| Samantha Szeszulski