Cross section of Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab design, 2019.

Center for Impact at CCA announces Impact Award Winners

The Impact Award offers crucial funding for projects that hold the potential for long-term impact addressing social and environmental challenges.

Creative re-use of materials part of the Rubber Impact Awareness project.

Rubber Impact Awareness & Action Project, 2019

California College of the Arts is proud to announce Buoyant Ecologies and the Rubber Impact Awareness & Action Project as the two winning teams of the college’s annual $25,000 USD Impact Award, presented by the Center for Impact at CCA. This year’s theme—"Invention and Innovation in Creative Re-use, Upcycling, and/or Sustainable Materials"—sought solutions from the CCA community that address climate change through inventing environmentally friendly materials or by transforming consumer behavior. The 2019 Impact Award is generously supported by Thurlow Washam, the Center for Cultural Innovation, and the Center for Impact’s ImpactFund.

“The Impact Award recognizes the ingenuity and vision that emanates from thinkers and makers in the CCA community,” says JD Beltran, director of the Center for Impact. “The 25,000 USD grants serve as seed money to incubate projects that hold the promise of long-term impact in addressing social and environmental problems.”

Buoyant Ecologies synthesizes architectural design, marine ecology, and digital fabrication to develop resilient waterfront structures that simultaneously enhance biodiversity and mitigate coastal erosion. The team will test 3D-printed prototypes for ecological substrates—using calcium carbonate and advanced composites—on the newly deployed Float Lab, a scientific laboratory anchored off Oakland’s Middle Harbor Shoreline Park. Building on five years of research, the team is working in collaboration with the Benthic Lab at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, manufacturer Kreysler & Associates, and the Port of Oakland.

“This project began as pure speculation—the notion that floating buildings could provide ecological benefit—and has grown into a robust, multi­disciplinary research initiative,” writes the Buoyant Ecologies team.

An outgrowth of the CCA Architectural Ecologies Lab, the winning Buoyant Ecologies team consists of CCA associate professors Margaret Ikeda and Adam Marcus (Architecture); CCA adjunct professors Evan Jones and Alex Schofield (Architecture); and CCA Architecture students Vishnu Balunsat, Sean Cunningham, Joshua Eufinger, Viviani Isnata, Mithila Jagtap, Cassady Kenney, Cristian Laurent, Peter Pham, and Maria Ulloa.

The Rubber Impact Awareness & Action Project focuses on the life cycle of transportation rubber to create public awareness and political pressure for increased sustainability. Building upon three decades of practice by rubber upcycling pioneer Mandana MacPherson, the Rubber Impact team will organize Bay Area bike shops into stewards for the collection and distribution of used inner tubes, redirecting rubber from the waste stream to useful alternatives. The team will also partner with local schools to create curricula and hands-on maker modules, as well as develop a comprehensive textbook and pamphlets.

“Plastic is currently receiving lots of attention for its impacts, but transportation rubber, another petroleum-based material, often combined with natural rubber, is still in the shadows,” writes the Rubber Impact team.

The winning Rubber Impact Awareness & Action Project team is composed of CCA instructor Mandana MacPherson (Industrial Design, Special Programs) and CCA alumni Ellen Field (Industrial Design 2019), Gigi Obrecht (Graphic Design 1991), and James Seckelman (Individualized Studies 2019).

About the Impact Award
The Impact Award offers crucial funding for projects that hold the potential for long-term impact addressing social and environmental challenges. Jurors for the 2019 Impact Award included Kristen DiStefano, associate director of Atelier Ten; George Henry Hines, founder and CEO of GHH Innovations; Deborah Munk, director of the Artist in Residence (AIR) Program at Recology; CCA associate professor Tim Smith, CCA MBA in Design Strategy program; and Mawuli Tugbenyoh, former commission liaison to the mayor of San Francisco.

About the Center for Impact at CCA
The Center for Impact harnesses the ingenuity that abounds at CCA. Concentrating on social and environmental sustainability as the catalyst, the Center generates change through projects that generate lasting impact, and that build and leverage strong, long-term connections and partnerships within and beyond the college.

About California College of the Arts
Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) in the San Francisco Bay Area prepares students, through practice and critical study, for lifelong creative work that shapes culture and society.