Abir is a native Detroiter returning after spending the last decade between Toronto and Chicago. She is formally trained as an Architect, receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her professional Master of Architecture from the University of Toronto. She gained formal experience in the field in Chicago, where she worked on a variety of environmentally sustainable affordable housing projects, both new construction and rehab. Her most notable work was in project and construction management for the demolition of Grove Parc, a south-side public housing project, and the subsequent development of Woodlawn Park and its first phase multi-family construction.
Abir has balanced a variety of scale in design. She is co-partner of Ali Sandifer Studio, an artisan-based furniture design studio established in 2004. It relocated to Detroit from Chicago when she accepted the fellowship position. The studio is featured at YLiving.
Abir is a Program Fellow at the Hudson-Webber Foundation. The foundation is committed to physical revitalization and economic development within Detroit, amongst other mission areas, with a focus on talent attraction and retention (15×15) in the city. This work affords a chance to examine the larger context of place-making investment, an additional scale of experience that is a both a compliment and rarity to architecture and design.
To date, she has immersed herself in learning the grant-making process with responsibilities that mirror those of a program officer. Currently her focus is on internal evaluation of investment over the last three years and benchmarking the efforts of the foundation’s 15×15 initiative. Review and recommendation of the next round of grants is also underway. In addition, in collaboration with key partners, she is managing a storytelling project for Greater Downtown Detroit. Due out before the close of 2012, this report will quantitatively and qualitatively record the transformation of Greater Downtown and be the first iteration of an intended annual report.
Link to Employer Website: Hudson-Webber Foundation Home
A very fine line between work and play exists. Abir is searching for new local and international based opportunities for Ali Sandifer Studio. Recently the studio participated in the Detroit Artists Market 2012 Annual Design Show and is nearing completion on pieces for clients in London and Marseilles. With three boys, ranging from 12 years to 9 months, and a business partner-husband, she finds creative ways to keep the kids engaged with the work the parents do while also relieving them of the woodshop and tools as a means of entertainment.
With an increasingly independent baby and upcoming spring, Abir hopes to return to running and swimming – although it may well be with an added jogging stroller, ten year old running partner and mommy-baby swim courses.