The Rice Thresher (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 78, No. 19, Ed. 1 Friday, December 7, 1990 Page: 1 of 16
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VOLUME 78, NO. 19
AKBAR & JEFFS JAVA HUT
Archi designs shelter for homeless
by Jonathan Briggs
Imagine being homeless: des-
perate, lonely, and weather-beaten.
Imagine being homeless, but
with a place that you can call your
own; somewhere private and se-
cure where you can actually feel
safe. Steve Mayman, a graduate
architecture student, has devel-
oped a housing prototype to en-
courage people to help make the
second portrait a reality for
Mayman's structure is ap-
proximately a 7' 4" by 9' 4M ply-
wood cubicle, designed to be a
refuge for people who usually find
their beds on park benches.
"I've been working with the
homeless at Houston's SEARCH
Center and was struck by the
problem," Mayman said. "I
thought about what an archi could
do to help with the homeless if we
put our skills to use."
Mayman said he began his pro-
cess by looking into the problem
to see the sociological aspects, and
then trying to find the best solu-
"Over the past 50 years the
standard of housing has gone up
along with the cost. The standard
50 years ago would've been less
spacious. It was really an experi-
ment to see if someone can live in
a 40-square-foot room or if he has
to have a 100-square-foot room,"
Projects like Mayman's have
been done before, but his is differ-
ent in many aspects. Mayman
said that in San Diego, single-oc-
cupancy hotels with hundreds of
20-square-foot rooms have been
targeted at people with very low
incomes. However, $220 a month
for rent is still too expensive for
the homeless, he said.
One of the most famous at-
tempts to provide housing for the
homeless was a project in Atlanta
which involved building shelters
out of recycled materials. The
shelters were erected in vacant
lots; the homeless would then mi-
grate out of the bushes where they
were known to be living and move
into the small cubicles. However,
eventually all the shelters were
Mayman said the biggest dif-
ference in his prototype is its size.
Steve Mayderi leans against the shelter he has designed.
According to architecture dean Alan
Balfour, the size of the project is what
makes it so impressive.
"It's so simple, yet it's still about
architecture," Balfour said.
The purpose of the cubicle, ac-
cording to Balfour, is to place many
of the prototypes into already exist-
ing shelters or warehouses.
"The homeless are afraid to use
the shelters because they will get
mugged," said Mayman. "Most
choose to live on the streets rather
than in the shelters. These will offer
them privacy and security in the same
setting while taking up the same
space as a bed."
The cost of building the cubicle
was in between $400 and $500. "He
(Mayman) paid for it out of his own
pocket, though," Balfour said.
The prototype will be in Ander-
son Hall's Farish Gallery until the
end of the semester, and Mayman
hopes to display it in a low-income
architecture show. Eventually,
Mayman plans to put the cubicle in
a warehouse for use.
Mayman's experiment was also
to see how cheaply he could build
housing, to see if it was possible to
extend the supply curve for hous-
ing below the $200 per month base
which, according to Mayman, is
the lowest possible amount to pay
"I'm not advocating this as a so-
lution to homelessness—it was an
experiment I don't consider it a
home because it's not adequate.
But it's something better than the
choices they have now; it's better
than sleeping on the street or in a
room with 300 people," he said. "I
hoped in its process it would gener-
ate some attention. Hopefully it will
get people talking about the prob-
lem of homelessness," he said. "I
encourage people to get involved.
A Housing for Humanity chapter
may start soon at Rice and there's a
lot of things that they can do."
"There seem to be a whole lot of java junkies out there," said Baker sophomore Shaila Dewan, who helped organize the
coffeehouse which opened Monday. So far, the new house in Sammy's private dining room has been full every night.
The coffeehouse serves coffee, espresso and cappucino as well as hot chocolate and cafe au lait. The committee plans
to have live music three nights a week in the coffeehouse, open from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. every night until December 14.
Tapia wins national award
for work with Hispanics
By Anne Chettle
Richard Tapia, Rice professor in
the math science department and
Associate Director of Graduate Mi-
nority Affairs, received the Hispanic
Engineer National Achievement
Award for Education on October 20.
In the three-day Hispanic Engineers
National Achievement Awards Con-
ference, Tapia was commended for
both his research in computational
methods and his outreach programs
for minorities interested in careers
in math and science.
Originally from California, Tapia
came to Rice because of his need to
identify with his Hispanic roots. He
sawTexas as one of the most powerful
states, along with California, in terms
of the potential for Hispanic involve-
ment in public affairs. Rice, thus,
became his home.
As a Math Science professor for
20 years, Tapia has had many re-
sponsibilities. For eight years, start-
ing in the 1970s, Tapia was on the
Admissions Committee, mainly con-
cerned with minority recruitment.
Now, he not only teaches math sci-
ence courses and researches com-
putational methods (in coordination
with the Center for Research in Par-
allel Computation), he is also the
director of the Mathematical and
Computational Science Awareness
This summer course, sponsored
by both Rice and the National Science
Foundation, brings together 50 sci-
ence and math teachers from high
schools and secondary schools
around the area with significant mi-
nority populations. During the week,
the teachers are "sensitized to the
world they live in" specifically ad-
dressing minorities in academia,
particularly in math and science.
This model program stresses
awareness that minorities represent
20 percent of the population yet are
underrepresented at the science and
research level. Companies like IBM
and NASA are brought in to make
presentations, and the emphasis is
on encouraging minorities into such
Tapia believes that the national
image of academia is suffering. Ca-
reers in math and science are not
considered valuable, Tapia says. The
sensitivity is missing." Tapia sees
minorities as filling the need for en-
livened interest in academia, and they
in turn will take advantage of these
opportunities and "do good for the
Tapia created the highly suc-
cessful three-year-old program be-
cause he is committed to interesting
minorities in math and science fields.
The California Institute of Technol-
ogy modelled its new "awareness"
program after Tapia's.
Tapia sees his program as a way
to ameliorate the current crisis in
minority representation, although
Rice's srhall size limits its influence.
Tapia commends Rice's support
and sensitivity to this program and
minority issues in general. According
to him, Rice contributes $100,000 to
the program and "has a sincere
commitment to help minorities fur-
ther their goals." Indeed, the math
science department has the highest
percentage of women and minority
Ph.D.s of any math science depart-
ment in the nation.
RWA's Other Voices
by Sarah Leedy
Through several different initia-
tives, including a symposium on
feminism and the creation of a
monthly feminist newspaper, Other
Voices, the Rice Women's Alliance
(RWA) has rejuvenated discussion
of feminist issues on campus.
The RWA also helped organize
last night's Take Back the Night
Part II," a symposium and march
held to increase awareness of campus
safety and sexual assault on campus.
Brown College senior Anu Bajaj
said, There are issues at Rice that
are just under the surface, issues that
are important to everyone, not just
women. The Alliance, Take Back
the Night' and Other Voices brings
those issues into the open, where
they can be discussed."
Although the RWA has been an
official student organization since
1987, this year the group has been
much more active in promoting dis-
cussion of feminist issues at Rice.
The RWA goes through a yearly
cycle," explained Hanszen College
semor Rebecca Robertson. "Since its
non-hierarchical, its very difficult to
maintain continuous organization
from year to year."
Robertson and Brown College
senior Claudia Cooper have been
instrumental in the rejuvenation of
RWA and the publication of Other
RWA meets the first and third
Sunday of each month at 7 p.m. in the
Kyle Morrow Room, ^usually with a
specific topic of discussion planned.
Someof the topics this semester have -
included stereotypes of feminism and
The increased focus on feminist
issues has stirred up a great deal of
pro and con debate, especially on the
possible creation of a women's stud-
ies major at Rice.
"Sponsors of such courses
[women's's studies] almost always
have not-so-hidden agendas which
they are trying to impose...they try
to steer students toward one view-
point In otherwords, brainwashing,"
wrote Thresh creditors Kurt Moeller
and Jay Yates, in a September 28,
"Feminists have a really bad rap
for being negative, for just slamming
SEE RWA, PAGE 5
Iggy Pop is the
King of Rock &
See page 11
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Moeller, Kurt & Yates, Jay. The Rice Thresher (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 78, No. 19, Ed. 1 Friday, December 7, 1990, newspaper, December 7, 1990; Houston, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth245770/m1/1/: accessed November 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Rice University Woodson Research Center.