UK/CoD Brazil 2013

Students from the University of Kentucky's College of Design are traveling to Brazil this summer to use their design skills to impact positive change in South America. Keep up with this blog to hear about the real design solutions they will be implementing in small Brazilian communities this June!
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Today was our last day on the farm. We woke up to eat our last breakfast together at the farm. I will always miss the breakfast cake that was made fresh daily, hot and ready out of the oven. We were so spoiled with our meals here at the farm. Delicious! Once the van was all packed and ready to go, we made our 4-hour trip to Sao Paulo safely. After we arrived to our hotel, we went out to the city and grabbed some lunch, drank some passion fruit juice, and headed to the metro! (This was my first metro experience, and of course I loved it!) It’s exciting experiencing new forms of transportation. My first plane ride and subway ride all in one trip J Very fun!! We made our way to the cultural center, SESC Pompeia. It was so neat! We were able to get a tour to learn about the architecture and history of the place. We ended the night watching a Samba singing competition that was being held in the cultural center. It was a great first day in Sao Paulo and I can’t wait to explore the city more tomorrow!

    There aren’t many days when you think about your summer you envision being happy about getting up early or working in general, but today in Brazil it was just that. Okay let’s be honest the getting up early part might be hard, but it’s defiantly worth the efforts we are putting towards enriching the children’s lives with our design efforts. Every day we have come a little closer to not only the final product, but a design solution for our little school in Igarai.

    Our purpose throughout the day has been to stay on track and really make sure we are crunching towards the finishing touches. Being able to keep ahold of our time management and really understand the importance of it in real life projects has actually been an interesting design aspects we all have gained from this experience. We all have been "Crunching"  away at our To Do lists one-by-one to ensure we are staying on task and motivated until the finish line. From painting canvases to final space planning and finishing touches we have come full circle in a short six days for our projects here in Brazil. 


Image One: Refurnished Vanity with shape design concepts

   Throughout this trip we really have not only been able to work on creating areas for the children at the school to utilize, but applied design decision making. From the very beginning of this design process with receiving the floor plans, to visiting the school, to furniture design today changes have been made to ensure the vision we have for the children with our spaces. We haven’t been just students with this process, we have become real designers with the knowledge base we have gained in our educational process. 

Image Two: Preparations for the outdoor Terrace area in a project 

    Today is our final full day working on our projects and I must say we all have grown attached to them, not because they are our vision, but because they are so close to our hearts. Our project took on a whole new meaning once visiting the school and seeing whom our target audience was and whom would benefit from our design. The connection we have had with our projects here in Brazil has allowed us to realize the depth of designers hearts with their projects, but the depth in the relationships they form with their clients as well. Brazil has been nothing short of amazing, but as we "Crunched" away our to-do lists today we also “Crunched” one of the final days here on the farm.

    There are many things in the field of design that drive us to do what we love. Being able to see those children’s faces tomorrow will be what allows this project to come full circle for all of us. Just as Walt Disney once said, “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make that dream a reality.” Tomorrow our final step of installation for the children at the school will take place and on that note it’s time to finally wash our hands for the last time from all the paint canvases and furniture and call it a day here in Brazil. 

      - Aleigh Oney 

After a relaxing weekend full of fun activities, we returned to working hard on our projects today!  Each group made lots of progress, as the project must be completed for installation Wednesday afternoon at the school.  Between having fun with our project mascot, Kyle, and varnish eating through plastic cups and spilling down Andrea’s leg, working all day led to many crazy adventures and obstacles.  The bookshelves for each group were finished and painted in the woodshop. All three groups worked on painting furniture and started painting the canvases for the background of our scenes. We all worked really hard today, from breakfast until lunch, from lunch until dinner, and even after dinner.  At reading discussion, we talked about two articles on the future of architecture.  The two articles discussed the political side to architecture, and how more architectural focus should be given to areas and social groups that need them.  By designing for the slums of the world, design could improve their lives and therefore protect the earth from potential future disasters.  We thought of how architectural education and academies can change their teaching methods to teach students for the future of architecture.  The projects are looking great and I know that the school kids will love them!


Two more photos from todays hike to the lake and our picnic! 

- Kacy 

Today was our first day to sleep in making it a “lazy sunday”…  even though most of us went to the project house right after we woke up. We worked for a majority of the morning on things we had gotten behind on and regrouped to make sure we were going to get everything done. Since today was our one day to relax we only had to work half the day and got to relax by the lake on the farm for a few hours. It was about a 30 minute hike to get to the lake but it was worth it! We relaxed by the lake and all squeezed in on the small dock so we could get some much needed sun time. Around 1:30 we had a variety of sandwiches, pineapples, and chocolate cake for a picnic lunch by the lake. Afterwards a few of us swam o he dock in the middle of the lake and laid out there….until ten million spiders came and attacked us so we rushed back to the other dock  for some more relaxation and sun time. After a few hours the group began to die down so we could get back to the project house and get back to work. A lot of us were putting finished touches on painting our furniture and beginning the drawings on our canvas. We also found a cat that likes to hang around the project house tonight and we named in Kyle Campinas. He was actually really friendly and we played with him a lot and made obstacles courses for him for a free treat. More entertaining than you would think. And now to end a more relaxing day we are having a big barbecue dinner and relaxing the rest of the night. 

P.s. I would also like to add that as I was writing this a mutant bird-moth-bat flew into the living room and attacked us. Magnus is currently taking pictures of it. Check Facebook soon ;) 



This morning the CoD Brazil Crew awoke a little earlier than usual to get on the road by 8:30 am. Sleepy eyed, but still very excited we quickly ate breakfast and jumped in the van. Some people might think that a van ride with 13 people down bumpy Brazilian roads would be miserable, but that just isn’t the case. Marcos (our van driver/pizza chef) likes to keep us entertained with movies and Brazilian pop songs on repeat so we can learn the words. After a 30 minute van ride of singing and clapping we arrived to the rafting site. We suited up in life jackets and helmets and headed to the boats. We split up into three rafts, met our guides, and made up three war cries. For the next hour and a half we braved the rapids and swallowed plenty of river water. I am so thankful for times like this where we can enjoy sunshine and laugh together. Many of us conquered fears of rafting and we all made memories that will last forever!

For lunch we had the opportunity to dine at Sá Rosa Cafeteria, which was fantastic! We enjoyed salads, pasta dishes, and our choice of ice cream. Dessert and coffee have become a large part of our diet here in Brazil and none of us can complain. We spent the rest of our afternoon in Poços de Caldas. This is a beautiful town with tons of shopping and a glass factory we toured. After a long day of walking and exploring we arrived back on the farm at 9:00pm. Tomorrow we are all looking forward to sleeping in a little bit, relaxing by the lake, and getting some work done on our projects.

Tchau! Brenna

Rafting fun!

Today was a work day. After a lot of handwork the partition walls are finally finished and many people were working on painting furniture. After 3 days of sanding the old furniture down, we finally began painting it! We took a quick break for lunch and headed back to work. For dinner we made pizzas. Many created their own pizzas, so there was a lot of variety in toppings! The pizzas were then baked in a wood fired oven and shared amongst the group. They were delicious, it was a great way to end a long work day. The group then headed to bed early because we are rafting in the morning!


Today was another workday for us to build and design our three spaces. A couple of us woke up super early to get in a full day at the woodshop since it starts getting dark so early here. We finished another one of our partition walls before breakfast. At breakfast we had fruit and bread. A few of us toasted our bread on the wood stove, which makes it taste so much better.

After breakfast we went back to the woodshop to continue working on building the partition walls and bookshelves. It was such a good experience because Allyson and Brenna had to communicate to Carlon how to build the bookshelf without Kirsten there translating. Carlon starting building the first bookshelf while we all went to a coffee cupping. Felipe who is Sylvia’s son roasted the coffee beans and explained to us the different types of coffee, which we then dry smelled them first before adding water and tasting them. A coffee cupping is kind of like a wine tasting.

After the cupping we had a delicious lunch, which included fried bananas, which were absolutely amazing. We then relaxed outside in the sun together before we headed back to the project house and woodshop to work. At the project house the groups finished sanding the existing pieces of furniture and further developed their designs and dimensioned out the future that needs to be built. Over at the woodshop we finished the first bookshelf and sanded three more partitions. We got so much done today at the woodshop, its amazing to see things coming together and being built!!!

-Elizabeth Harr

"The act of collaboration is an act of shared creation and/or shared discovery…"

This quote, from the 5th reading we were assigned called Co aboration by Michael Schrage, embodies the first day of working on our project for the preschool in Igarai. Today we got together into our three teams of three to discuss how we would move forward on our project since we visited the school on Monday. The school has asked us to design three small play spaces that simulate a real house, but at 1-3 year old scale. We separated into three groups to tackle each space with one group working on a kitchen, one group working on a bedroom and one group working on little living room. We have not only designed these spaces to be very similar to their large-scale counterparts but we want them to be very interactive and fun. Each group is focusing on an element of the typical preschool learning process, the kitchen group focusing on colors and the names of them, the bedroom group working with shapes and the living room group working with numbers. We had long discussions about how to go about creating these miniature scenes, which required a great deal of cooperation and many many sketches to effectively communicate ideas. After a long morning of drawing and re-drawing we broke for lunch. We ate some strange fruits including a passion fruit, which was REALLY tart, but delicious. Most of our group was not so keen on trying the odd tropical fruits but a few brave souls went out on a limb and were very pleased with what they found!

After lunch we went to work on building the miniature walls for our spaces and there was LOTS of sanding. We have a few pieces of miniature furniture that we got from the school that we are going to give a face lift and fit into our project. However these pieces have tons of old paint and stickers on them that need to be sanded off before we can repaint them, so most people were working on that for the majority of the afternoon. We also had a group go down to the farm’s wood shop and build some miniature walls. We worked until the sun went down and we all feel really good about our progress today and are very excited to get going on everything tomorrow!

We are working with a group of very smart and talented people and it is so interesting to see how we all work together towards our common goal.  Everyone has such great ideas and we are all so creative, I feel very lucky to get to collaborate and make new design discoveries with these girls. Knowing that we are creating something that will ultimately affect so many kids in ways we will never even know, touches my heart.  I am already excited to show the school what we have done and we aren’t even close to being finished!  

Aleigh sanding a little dresser! 

Kacy, Bella and Andrea sanding!

We are wrapping up the day with a group reading discussion and maybe a few card games with our new friends from the farm! 

-Allyson Smith