Group Members | Homelessness & Vacancy

group2_1From left to right: Charles Chawalko, Bonnie Netel, Thomas Willemse, Caitlin Charlet, Kaitlin Killpack, Shirley Bucknor.

Bonnie Netel

Bonnie Netel is from Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, or the Pocono Mountains for those familiar with Northeastern Pennsylvania. She is a recent graduate from the Bachelor of Architecture program at Philadelphia University. During her five years at Philadelphia University, she served as the Team Captain for the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) community service organization, Freedom by Design. As the Team Captain, she led students to design and build for those with limited mobility in the Philadelphia community. Her passion to investigate urban transformation and social need has led her to the MS Design and Urban Ecologies program at the Parsons The New School for Design.

Charles Chawalko

Charles Chawalko is a jack-of-all-trades urbanist born and raised in New York City. Personally experiencing 9/11 and growing up mere blocks from Ground Zero, he became focused on all pursuits concerning history, politics, and community development. He graduated from Fordham University at Lincoln Center with a B.A. in History back in 2010. During his academic career, he took on research projects in a smattering of subjects, such as Medieval Europe, Developing South Politics, US Foreign Policy, American Suburbanization, or NYC Politics; and, it all culminating in a research thesis on Toleration Under the Sun: An Analysis of Norman Political Administation and Adaptations to Greco-Arab Sicily. After graduation, he worked in the design retail world; and, he became involved in various community efforts – including one to protect his Mitchell-Lama development from privatization. Understanding the currents of Neoliberal economic policies in today’s politics and the adverse conditions it has on local communities, he was inspired to join the M.S. in Design and Urban Ecologies program. He is also an avid audiophile, persistent concert-goer, and advocate in the New York music scene.

Caitlin Charlet (Masley)

Caitlin Masley was born in Washington DC and grew up in Columbia, Maryland. Throughout her studies as a visual artist, Ms. Masley has carried with her the impact and side effects of growing up in a planned community (James Rouse 1960′s). For her MFA thesis show she recreated an alternative installation of utopia based on Columbia, Maryland that depicted the nature of how humans can and can not live in a perfect place and the multitude of  impending questions that surround such a large issue. Working from this conceptual platform, Ms. Masley went on to establishing an international art career winning several grants and fellowships, including an Emerging Artist Fellowship from the Socrates Sculpture Park, a Pollock-Krasner Fellowship, a Puffin Foundation Grant and the Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Grant, the LMCC Swing Space Grant and Residency (among others). She has been artist-in-residence in Austria, Germany, Quebec, Norway and Switzerland. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at MOMA/PS1, Center for Built Environment (CUBE), Storefront for Art and Architecture, Islip Museum, Smack Mellon Gallery, The Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, McColl Center for Contemporary Art, Kingston Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2012-13 Ms. Masley will create new installations for Galerije Bacva, HDLU, Zagreb, Croatia and Territories Unknown, College of New Rochelle Gallery, New Rochelle, New York. Currently Caitlin Masley lives and works in Brooklyn. On November 9, 2012 she will open her first solo show in New York with Lu Magnus Gallery located in the lower east side.

Kaitlin Killpack

Kaitlin Killpack was born and raised in Richmond, VA and received my BFA in Graphic Design from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she was involved in various projects concerning the urban environment and sustainability. Projects included a cultural exchange project with the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe, PSA’s for children about city gardens, and the development of a device called InSpaces that enables people to interact with virtual media in real space and time within Richmond’s historical sites. Killpack currently works for a fashion design company where the environment, human rights, community partnerships and good design are their top priorities. Killpack has always sought further learning in a program that combines art and design, social anthropology, activism and environmental studies, and Design and Urban Ecologies seems to have articulated just that. She is very excited for this opportunity, and is ready to lend a hand in generating good ideas to promote positive change in our cities and communities.

Shirley Bucknor

Shirley Bucknor is an interior and furniture designer, and design coordinator of Fusion Architecture, an international non-profit cooperative for socio-cultural and socio-spatial research, design and development based in Ghana, Arizona and Mexico. Shirley’s role as a design coordinator combines practice and research on different platforms focused on environmental design & architecture, as well as, social research within the developed and developing world. Her recent projects have included collaboration efforts in redesigning and proposing new, self-contained and sustainable modular housing systems that will seek to answer the issues associated with the prevalent shack dwelling structures as a response to the overwhelming need for housing within developing areas. Shirley is a fulltime graduate student at Parsons, where she seeks to establish a progressive foundation on social initiative research and strategies while involving the role of architecture.

Thomas Willemse

Thomas Willemse is a Belgian postgraduate exchange student from the KULeuven, studying for one semester at Parsons, The New School for Design. Willemse studied civil engineering and architecture at the KULeuven.  After finishing his thesis design project – Fragments of a Regenerated Nazareth: Tourist and Local Interweaving – in the final year of his architectural studies at the KULeuven, it dawned on him how crucial and indispensable an urban vision is. With this project, Willemse had the ambition to look for a careful and precise implantation and composition of an architectural project to generate badly needed public spaces, strongly interwoven with a range of social, local and tourist functions to tackle major city and neighborhood issues. Stimulated by this challenging design, he chose the Master of Urbanism and Strategic Planning to broaden his view on urbanism beyond the perspective on the city from the architectural point of view. The numerous courses and studios of this master’s program have added not only to his view on urbanism and the interrelation with architecture, but also extended urbanism, for example to the landscape – especially with the landscape urbanism Beijing studio and related courses – and also the social sciences such as urban studies on Luchtbal and urban anthropology. This very nature of urbanism on the crossroad of various disciplines makes it an ideal integrator or link between various disciplines which is, in Willemse’s opinion, one of its strongest potentials.


2 thoughts on “Group Members | Homelessness & Vacancy

    • Thank you Bonnie!

      Very cool. Reminds me of the cliche that nature abhors a vacuum. Well, the attraction of vacant spaces that motivates art, education and compassion seeks to fill that vacuum. It’s what drives the un-permitted squatter movement for homes and gardens, the legal homesteading and urban farming movement and the art-in -public-places movement; the desire to creatively inhabit neglected, vacant, oft times deteriorating property is enlivening, especially when it comes to meeting the housing needs of people, unleashing the freedom to create, and generally putting these spaces to good use!


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