Q&A with SERA Designer and 2020 SEED Award Winner Lindsey Naganuma
For her capstone university project, SERA designer Lindsey Naganuma collaborated on a library concept for Portland’s Cully neighborhood — one that builds community, celebrates diverse identities, and challenges how residents learn and share information. Her conceptual design is now a 2020 SEED Award winner, recognized by the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), the NAACP, and the Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED) Network!
We asked her to share more about the project — from its origins, to what she hopes it will achieve.
Your project is called Biblioteca Caminanza. How did you get started on it, and what’s the meaning behind the name?
My partner and friend Claudia Monroy-Benitez and I designed it as part of the University of Oregon’s capstone studio, Future Library Lab, which challenged students to reimagine a traditional library for the modern age. During the studio, students engaged working professionals in library, building, and community development in their process to develop and define a library of the future.
We called the library “Biblioteca Caminanza”; “caminanza” being a combination of the Spanish words for ‘path’ and ‘hope.’ The name exists because it encompasses the value of finding hope in the onward path to a better life.
What makes Biblioteca Caminanza different from the average public library?
The concept for Biblioteca Caminanza was to amplify the voices of marginalized people through the empowerment of knowledge. By providing more hands-on opportunities, access to resources, and opportunities to share culture, the DNA of the library is made from justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.
Biblioteca Caminanza creates a place that challenges the way people process information, learn about unknown topics, and share information. With more platforms generating content and more places to get information, people will need to lean on librarians to process, filter, and preserve work faster than before. And especially as access to information becomes more of an expectation rather than an opportunity, the public will need spaces with the equipment and resources to tap into digital resources.
Why choose to site it in Portland’s Cully Neighborhood?
Despite being rooted in a city known for its progressiveness, the Cully neighborhood itself lags behind adjacent areas in basic infrastructure, facilities, and services. There has been little investment in sidewalks, roads, small businesses, and other amenities. Because the neighborhood — which started as a native Chinook village called Neerchokikoo — was annexed into the county well after the city’s proliferation between 1910 and 1960, it more closely resembles a rural area turned into a manufacturing and transportation hub, with low density, large lots and unpaved streets.
What made you decide to submit it to the SEED Awards?
Our studio instructor, knowing the concept and motivation behind our project, saw an announcement for the competition and encouraged us to submit. It turned out what NOMA, NAACP and SEED were looking for was already baked into our project!
Could you see this project taking roots?
The Cully neighborhood has a strong group of organizations working toward community development without displacement. It would be amazing to see this project become a reality since Cully does not currently have a library within walking distance of most of its residents. Furthermore, using a library to meet multiple needs for Cully — for example, lack of green space, community gathering space, study space — it could be a holistic solution that further strengthens the sense of community they have built.
Visit Design Corps for more information on Lindsey and Claudia’s award-winning project.