School of Architecture College of Design

Activating Architecture: The Disruption of Difference


Workshop Summary

Plagued by fear, anger and a widespread empathy deficit, our cultural and political climate thrives on exploiting, rather than exploring, our perceived differences. This exploitation yields fierce opposition worsened by a digital landscape defined by impulse and shame. With difference? Comes distance. Nothing, no one, feels safe.

Heightening the gravity of this polarizing phenomenon is the absence of meaningful opportunities to experience and understand those whom we perceive as different. Rather than bridging continuous, we construct societal divides. Zoning and lending algorithms segregate our neighborhoods. Operating budgets fragment our schools. Documentation limits agency and tendered bathrooms render fear. Admissions policies exclude those with criminal records while so=called news outlets demand diverging ideologies.

We are (culturally, socially, and spatially) divided.

Consequentially, our perceived differences are shaped not by the sincerity of human contours but by the sharp scream of screens and unsubstantiated suspicions.

In the Activating Architecture workshop, students will investigate architecture's opportunity to reclaim authentic human exchange through the disruption of division. By imagining spaces and places that bridge seemingly divergent communities - criminals and non criminals, citizens and immigrants, whites and blacks, conservatives and liberals, transgenders and cisginders - students will be given the opportunity to activate architecture anchored in collective purpose while dismissing the distance that accompanies difference. Work products generated from this course will be featured at All Square, a socially driven gourmet grilled cheese restaurant opening next fall in the Twin Cities.


Guest Instructors

Emily Hunt Turner, Civil Rights Attorney, All Square

Roslynn Pedracine, Civil Rights Attorney, Department of Housing & Urban Development


Guest Biographies

Emily Hunt Turner

Emily Hunt Turner is a civil rights attorney with a background in architecture, law, and public policy. In 2016, Emily founded All Square. a nonprofit gourmet grilled cheese restaurant in Minneapolis that aims to both hire and empower individuals with criminal records. The restaurant is slated to open in August of 2017.

Prior to All Square, Emily spent five years as an attorney for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) working on issues of prisoner reentry, fair housing, and housing segregation. She graduated from Syracuse University's School of Architecture with outstanding thesis honors in 2007 and went on to receive a Masters of Public Policy from Georgia state in 2009 and her Juris Doctor from Loyola University in New Orleans in 2012.

Emily has committed her career to not only discussing but also providing grassroots solutions to the systemic divides that are crippling communities, particularly nonwhite communities, across the country. When she's not in coffee shops working on the All Square build-out, you can find her on the ice as a couch for the Minneapolis girls high school varsity hockey team.


Roslynn Pedracine

Roslynn L. Pedracine is a licensed attorney, serving as an Investigator at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. In this role, she ensures compliance with federal civil rights and anti-discrimination law in the areas of housing and community equity. Prior to her current position, she was competitively selected as the 2013 Presidential Management Fellow, where she served as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity in Washington, DC. In addition, she served as the Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Pamela J. Alexander, in the Fourth District Court of Minnesota.

Roslynn is a 2013 graduate of Hamline University School of Law, where she obtained her Juris Doctor degree and Master of Public Administration. She is a 2008 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree, double majoring in Afro-American studies and Legal Studies. Roslynn is a native of Madison, WI, and currently resides in Minneapolis, MN.



Faculty Host

Blaine Brownell, Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, UMN ARCH


School of Architecture
145 Rapson Hall
89 Church Street
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Fax: 612-624-5743


Contact Information

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107 Rapson Hall, 89 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
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General Information
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