Desireé Edge is an Architectural Lighting Specialist at Reflex Lighting and an architecture graduate Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with the five year B.Arch degree (and a minor in Human Factors in Psychology). She was the only African American in her architecture class to graduate, and aims to encourage other students throughout her community to strive for the same opportunities she did. The low statistic of African American registered architects (.2% in 2010 according to AIA) is a problem she is trying to change. In the future, she hopes to become a registered architect in the state of Massachusetts where she currently resides.
Before any of this can happen, like everyone else, she had a beginning. Edge became interested in architecture at a young age through exposure from her cousin who showed her different works in books he collected. Her interest became rejuvenated when she gained a new desire to help unequipped communities from a lesson she learned from a house fire her family experienced as a young student. She began partaking in community service activities within her own community as well as internationally through Visions Service Peru, which was funded from the program, Summer Search (she is a current alumn), in order to give back to communities like her own. She also volunteered at her middle school in helping out her mother (a past PARA professional aide for students with special needs). She became more aware of the importance of universal design in order for all people to function in their environments efficiently and continued her service in leading the track and field and award events of her district’s Special Olympics three years consecutively.
From her exposure in community service activities and her involvement as a captain and varsity athlete on the Attleboro High School indoor and outdoor track and field teams, she was recruited from RPI. Little did she know, RPI would be the perfect choice for her pursuit in designing environments very different than her own. She finished her minor of Human Factors in Psychology in 2011 to learn more about universal design in architecture and product design. In the spring of 2012, she studied abroad at Tongji University in Shanghai, China to gain more international experience and understand how a country so strong in architectural diversity was coping with universal design strategies for its people.
Fun INTERESTS—-> Travelling abroad | Competing in track and field (55m, 100m, 200m) | Shopping | Event planning | Graphic designing
The website displays a range of work with Edge’s academic career where she has explored different strategies that question the boundary. Questioning the boundary, blurs interior and exterior systems and branches together different programs that may not normally be considered together. Throughout the collection, are projects ranging from architectural works, urban design strategies, exhibition displays, infrastructure, and volunteer work, in which all work within different mediums are used to broaden strategies and optimize systems.
The most recent design Edge has designed is the Future Church in Dudley Square, Roxbury, MA, for her thesis project this past semester. It creates opportunities for community outreach through religious and cultural involvement through mixed interior and exterior programs. The religious center brings in the importance of nomadic worship which pushed users to embrace the Godliness inside versus the connection to the enclosure. Last semester, Edge designed the Urban Weave (situated in Shanghai, China) which is a very conceptual urban design proposal that questioned the influence a weaving strategy of twisting and overlap that could invoke different interactions through movements throughout a site.
Edge’s most detailed project is Integrating Elemental Learning where she has partnered with Morgan Danner to design an elementary school from an influence of BIG Architects design with an influence in Edge’s background in human psychology (through her minor in Human Factors in Psychology) with Professor Ann Ruecker of AFKA Solutions to design systems more specified to children from all backgrounds including mental and physical disabilities.
June 9, 2017: EDGE becomes an official published author! RP-29 Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities is available on the IES Lighting Association website.
2015: EDGE becomes a Specifications Project Manager at Reflex Lighting.
July 8, 2013: EDGE becomes a full time employee at Reflex Lighting in the Design and Specification Department as an Architectural Lighting Specialist.
May 25, 2013: EDGE graduated RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) with a Bachelor’s of Architectural and Minor concentration in Human Factors in Design.
May 8, 2013: EDGE published her thesis of The Church of New Hope (Shown below) with RPI School of Architecture Publications.
March 2013: EDGE completed an exterior renovation option for New Hope Baptist Church in Boston, MA.
January 2013: EDGE completed a church design option for the New Hope Baptist Church in Boston, MA.
November 26 + 29, 2012: EDGE was a guest architect critique on the Human Factors in Design class’s final design panel to critique underclassmen student work regarding Human Factors with Professor Ann Ruecker of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.