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SUMMARY: Maya Chandler redesigns the old Albemarle County Jail as a functional bathhouse in JMURJ's first multimedia publication, "Provenance of Place and Past: Designing a Bathhouse for Charlottesville."

The James Madison Undergraduate Research Journal is proud to present our first multimedia publication, Maya Chandler’s “Provenance of Place and Past: Designing a Bathhouse for Charlottesville.”

Chandler’s Fall 2015 Studio III: SITE course asked her and her fellow Architectural Design majors to "rethink the way that we as architects and everyday citizens imagine spaces.” Chandler’s professor, Dr. Ronn Daniel, raised the stakes by focusing students in on the old Albemarle County Jail (c. 1876), located in the heart of Charlottesville, Virginia. Their semester-long project asked them to honor the history of the space and the community in the work they placed on the site. The focus of their research, as Chandler observes, was on "not ignoring the past, mowing it down, or covering it up—but allowing it to point us in the direction of an architectural intervention.”

Chandler's research process, comprised of typology cards, fragment models, section drawings, site maps, and building plans could easily have remained discipline- and even course-specific artifacts, accessible only to a privileged few.

Writing a Research Statement 

Instead, Chandler submitted her work to JMURJ, supplementing the 15 figures she created for her project with a “research statement,” an audience-friendly summation of the research and scholarship behind her innovative bathhouse plan.

Chandler went above and beyond with her statement. Indeed, her submission and subsequent collaboration with the JMURJ Editorial Board positioned us to create research statement guidelines for undergraduate students interested in sharing their work with a wider audience. Intended for researchers and scholars in all JMU disciplines, the guidelines' questions offer a means of sharing the research involved in creating their academic, creative, and professional work.

Online and “Print”: Two versions of Chandler’s Work

To highlight the multimedia nature of Chandler’s designs, JMURJ has published her work twice, once as a “print” article in landscape format, with Chandler’s designs given pride of place (instead of merely supplementing the text) and then again as an online Atavist article. In this second format, readers can choose their own adventure, either appreciating Chandler’s designs and accompanying captions as unified project or dipping into her research statement for further explanation.  

We invite you to enjoy both versions of Maya Chandler’s Studio III: SITE project, which like the old jail site that it reimagines as a functional bathhouse, seems perfectly expressed in the poem Chandler composed as part of her “project narrative”:

this, in its quietude, is the tumultuous crescendo
a meeting of bodies—and of time
where the juxtaposition of gritty past and optimistic future
soak together


Maya ChandlerMaya Chandler (‘17) is in her last year at JMU, where she is earning both a B.F.A. in Architectural Design and a B.A. in Writing, Rhetoric & Technical Communication. Her varied interests have complemented each other nicely while at JMU; she has worked as a writing tutor at the University Writing Center since Fall 2013, has illustrated the writing handbook So What? The Writer’s Argument, and is looking forward to attending graduate school for Architecture in the fall. 

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Published: Saturday, April 22, 2017

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 2, 2019

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