How do you revitalize a riverside community dealing with repeated floods and deteriorating infrastructure? You create social spaces that bring back memories of the good times – in this case, we designed and built two fishing docks to revitalize the Petterson Pitts community along the Skunk river in Iowa.
Working alongside the Park Rangers and the Department of Natural Resources as a Graduate student at Iowa State University, my team was asked to design and execute the proposed solution. After various vantage point studies and water level analysis, we proposed to design and build 2 fishing docks at 2 locations on site. My team and took charge of the execution of Dock 2 shown in the site plan.
Of all the artifacts in maritime tradition perhaps none were as ubiquitous, and therefore so little considered, as the rope (and its expression, the knot) and canvas (and its expression, the sail). In order to celebrate the ordinary and foster an awareness of and relationship with these simple nautical objects, our project is an attempt to call attention to the intimate interactions between artifact, space, and body in our lived experience. Integral to our exhibit is the belief that it is not narrative, symbolism, or metaphor that gives full life to things, but rather an inherent “thing-ness” present in the immediate, physical experience of an object, a visceral response passing from artifact to body, that allows objects to survive in memory as tangible, knowable, and powerful.
Our hope is that this exhibit becomes a means by which Architecture, capable of engaging the sensory and atmospheric totality of our fleshy, embodied existence, serves as a focus for the relationship between artifact and body, creating a space that confronts the participant with the immediate, essential realties of rope, knot, and sail.
For the purpose of this project, the goals we set for ourselves were to combine the aspects of sustainability with the need for the building to provide an urban response. The site we chose harbors itself at the junction of North 14th street and Madison Street in the neighborhood of Old North St. Louis. It is the last site on North 14th Street which consists primarily of commercial buildings in its north west. As we go down the street, the residential buildings increase in addition to large plots of open land. It is from our site though that the scale of the neighborhood changes. It goes from being small commercial and single family homes -residential buildings to industrial and social housing residential buildings. This part of town, in St. Louis is undergoing redevelopment in an attempt to rebrand the neighborhood. As a result, the old North St. Louis restoration group requested a proposal for a mixed use building that would also help address the problems of economy and density within the neighborhood. Old North St Louis was also conceptualized with the notion of Mind,Body and Soul. Our very concept evolved from this ideology. The library being a place for knowledge and learning catering to the mind, the courtyard embodying a space for social interaction and activity dealing with the body and creation of well lit, comfortable spaces for the living souls within the building validated our efforts to tie into the neighborhood in aspects other than scale and materiality being one of our major goals.
The project description required us to designer a center for the large number of Veterans who served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America, from the Pueblo communities in New Mexico. The Center uses vernacular materials to highlight the rich culture and companionship these men and women fought to preserve. The center also aims to provide relief from the scourges of PTSD, unemployment and sense of displacement faced by Veterans as they return to civilian life.
The Gabion walls used on the exterior are the highlight of these project. They provide solutions to three problems -
Experientially - they provide relief from the solid rammed earth
Sustainability - Since New Mexico has a lot of stone around, Gabion walls can be constructed from locally sourced stones thereby also employing people to create these walls.
Since the site is situated right off the highway and fire station, its ability to absorb sound (50Db and more) help prevent the trigger of PTSD reflexes in Veterans.
As part of the Graduate Comprehensive studio, the program given to us was to design an air and maritime museum. The site chosen was at the Gas Works park in Seattle, Washington. A study of the history of the site showed that it was in need of remediation due to contamination by chemicals like Lead, Phosphorus etc. Thus, the my group’s program evolved from a museum for aquatic aviation and maritime exhibits. The building not only had to create a phenomenological connection with program but also an environmentally responsive connection with the site. The soil and water which are highly contaminated required us to develop an architectural system on the site that will not only remediate the soil during the initial construction, but would continue treatment throughout the life of the building. Thus parts of the building were lifted off the ground still allowing access to the ground in other parts responding the aquatic aviation. The portion of the building lifted off the ground allowed for the construction of a bio remediation basin which would help in purification and filtration of the site.