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Hanbury Awarded Grand Prize in 2022 AIA Film Challenge

It is with great pride that we announce that our film “a dream starts here” by in house filmmakers Jordan Gray and Nick Rossitch, along with project leads Kendall Roberts, and Allie Beck, has been named the Grand Prize Winner of the 2022 AIA Film Challenge.

On the southern border of South Carolina lies a small, overlooked town of 1,800, a town that has been hopeful for change. Calhoun Falls is known as The City of Opportunity, but much of that opportunity has dried up, leaving behind population decline and stunted economic opportunity. LaSean Tutt, founder of the nonprofit “Dreams with Open Arms,” and owner of one of the dilapidated downtown buildings, hopes that reimagining the once derelict space into a community center will catalyze change that radiates throughout the city. LaSean sees the Dream Center as a beacon for the whole community with a focus on entrepreneurship, inclusive ecosystems, professional development, and youth empowerment.

As architects and designers, we see ourselves as community builders. We firmly believe that to improve the cities in which we work, we must include the residents in the design process; it’s the first step. Community activation comes before construction. LaSean joined with Hanbury and the Clemson School of Architecture to engage the community at large through multiple events including the first annual “Rock the Block.” The prospect, alone, of a community center was enough to fill the streets, encourage design dialogue, and forge momentum. How can we as architects and designers share tools with the community so they can visualize, communicate, and engage with the design process? Sometimes, small change is enough to bring people together - a dream starts here.

"It was a true honor to take this eye-opening journey with LaSean and all the inspirational individuals that call Calhoun Falls home. Capturing the heart of this story left us equally inspired and humbled, but mostly grateful that LaSean and the town allowed us to share their story."

- Kendall Roberts

The team was comprised of visionary designers, visualization specialists with an artistic sensibility and spearheaded by LaSean and her deep understanding of the community. The synthesis of these viewpoints was profound, illustrating how architecture can drive positive change through the power of design.

It is our hope that this film leaves you feeling encouraged, challenged, and inspired. To discover ways to support LaSean and Dreams with Open Arms visit HERE.