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Designing to Live Sustainably at CEPA Gallery

D2LS submissions on display at CEPA Gallery

I buy my razor blades at the Lexington Co-op. They come in a series of little plastic cartridges in a neat little green biodegradable cardboard package. The package design, enlarged to human scale, would make a decent pre-fab temporary (though those structures rarely are) living shelter, I thought. So I worked it up a little…it was just after Katrina so there were lots of ideas floating around about how to house people after devastating events. I put my design in a cigar box and biked over to show it to George Besch, he of the then fledgling D2LS, or Designing to Live Sustainably, group. He was encouraging. I came to a meeting of his core assembly and decided I was better promoting his ideas in print.

Now some three years and many block club and high school outreach talks later, Besch’s inspiration has found real-time synergistic potential in a public exhibition to be held at the CEPA Gallery, in the Market Arcade building, this Saturday, May 18, 6-9pm, with refreshments and musical accompaniment. Proposal entry criteria ranged from, as George put it, “anyone with a box of sharp crayons to the most sophisticated software.” Submissions came poring in from a great range of disciplines and demographics—from artists to architects, from groups like Starlight Studio and Gallery through high schools, community organizations, and professional designers.

A selection of submitted designs cover the major aspects of vital sustainability: earth, air, heat, and water. Emblematically green intensive terms such as solar, bio-fuel, geothermal, and hydroponic are explained and implemented in practical, innovative, and inspirational projects. The quality-of-life issues often sidelined due to political and/or budget restraints are given ample visibility, such as recreational and utility bike paths in visions of lush commuter greenswards. The ease of image-making software allows competitors to create elegant perspective drawings and scale-model renditions in clear graphic presentations.

The long-awaited D2LS competition exhibit at CEPA will be a welcome opportunity to take the measure of public enthusiasm for creative environmental problem-solving and providential investment in the future of Buffalo’s urban community.

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