A Kansas City architect, whose firm is involved in helping replan hurricane-torn New Orleans, will address some 400 Iowa architects today (Friday). Steve McDowell is keynote speaker at the annual convention of the Iowa chapter of the American Institute of Architects. McDowell acknowledges there’s intense debate about the wisdom of rebuilding the historic Gulf Coast city -below- sea level. McDowell says it will take “rigorous study, very thoughtful people, really understanding all the issues, understanding the economics, understanding the cultural issues, all those things are going to need to be thought through, really scoured, before anyone’s going to be prepared to make the right recommendations.” After being badly battered by Hurricane Katrina, he says New Orleans is about to endure another massive change through the rebuilding process. McDowell says it’s “an incredible, culturally-valuable place” not just for New Orleans but for the whole country, for the world. Whatever happens, he says, needs to be really thoughtfully considered. McDowell works for B-N-I-M Architects of Kansas City, which he says is a firm that’s focused on restorative design, what he says is the philosophy of stewardship and the responsibility of making the world a better place. He says “Our practice is really focused on trying to make spaces that are very spirited, very appealing, very beautiful, have lasting appeal and also are very sensitive to the issues of the human being, issues of the environment and the issues of making sound economic decisions.” The Iowa chapter’s convention began Thursday and concludes today at the Polk County Convention Center Complex in Des Moines.
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