I recently re-visited my sketch book from my Thesis graduate work and decided to see if it actually made sense. It’s been about 2 years (wow) since researching, thinking, designing and completing(kinda) this project. I must admit I was a little worried that taking a step back and now together would expose some major flaws and “what was I thinking” moments, but instead it sparked my interest to dig a bit deeper and expand my knowledge not just on what my concepts were, but also how to widen the spectrum of my arguments and seek out further what could be if architecture’s purpose was to act an empowerment tool. Exploring and connecting the dots of cultural identities and the links to communities in which these identities are presumed, developed and nurtured. (sometimes properly, but mostly inappropriately)
So what can this all mean? Stay tuned as I will attempt to keep blogging about this theoretical journey back to my views on what community development is and how my previous solution to city issues differs to my perspective now. Over the past year I have been invested in community development initiatives and am experiencing in real life the issues my thesis project addressed. How lucky am I? Very! 😉
My site analysis process was inspired by my daily commute from Forest Park (west suburb of Chicago) to the Loop on the Green Line L’ Train. Twice a day I observed the changes of the neighborhoods and became interested in the politics of why this was visible. I passed through the neighborhoods of Oak Park, Austin, Garfield Park, and the West Loop, witnessing moments of historical remnants, urban development/decay, and opportunities for growth and hope. In the map above the red rectangles represent the open spaces (almost all visible from the Green Line route) available for the spatial responses I am proposing. These responses can include public parks, urban gardens, amphitheaters, art centers, mural spaces, fitness parks, pavilions and other community common spaces that may influence a strong since of pride in the neighborhood where you reside, creating areas of improvisation, dialogue, empowerment, remembrance, education, expression and anything freestyle[d].
The site I chose was the intersection of Pulaski and Lake, West Garfield Park. I began by looking at how the site was used by the community in it’s vacant state, and expanded on that.
The goal of the architecture is to excite, inspire and support community members and serve as a unifying symbol of all the present assets and instigate new possibilities in the community. Providing a space for music, art, dance and other, this facility becomes a support system, cultivating neighborhood pride. The visual statement explores an hip-hop aesthetic that involves elements of adaptability, fluidity, reclamation, and transparency. My precedent studies included The Wall of Respect by various Chicago Artist, DeYoung Museum by Herzog DeMeuron, Fun Palace by Cedric Price, Ibirapuera Park by Oscar Niemyer/Roberto Burle Marx, Olympic Sculpture Park by Weiss Manfred, and MASP by Lina Bo Bardi.
The first step is sometimes the hardest, even when there is some motivation involved, getting the ball rolling is often takes much more than a light push. Procrastination… Life… Netflix… Hunger… Chores… Work… Sleep… etc… always seem to take up the time allotted to doing other things, in my case, job searching, but today is the day! With growing pressures from all directions, mainly from the parentals, something needs to shake soon! Goal setting, life planning, soul searching, motivation finding, passion proofing all sounds so fun, but so demanding, but so exciting. I wish I had my own little pep squad in my room to give me encouragement. I don’t… but I do have my own little voice from within, and that will have to do!