ARCH 3020: Empowering Homeowners to Rebuild Baltimore
Empowering Homeowners to Rebuild Baltimore
We have conducted a critical scrutiny of Baltimore's elegant and semi-vacant urban neighborhoods for fissures: sites where connectivity is disrupted and differences accumulate. We have taken these neighborhood seams as grounds to create opportunistic cultural ecotones, with an intensive program to strengthen connections and to generate parameters for resilience. We found a significant seam between distinct residential and industrial areas within the North Remington neighborhood, and attempted to merge these areas to create a more cohesive community. The intent of the program is to create a space where community members can rebuild their homes in stages, with the goal of filling the residential vacancies in the area. The structure provides the materials, resources and instruction in an effort to facilitate residents' revitalization of Baltimore. The building design is governed by the flow of people and materials through the building on a daily basis, which is further determined by the stages of construction and renovation. The fixed structure relies formally on the adjacent grain of the row house. Our research found that most interior spaces need to be flexible to accommodate the full variety of activities. The primary formal elements of our building are the work court and the adjacent material wall. In keeping with the need for changing space, the partitions around the work court are all movable to allow for flexibility. The work court becomes an active community space that empowers local residents with the materials and tools necessary for construction work in a space that constantly adapts to the need of each phase of construction.