The next four and half weeks will be focused both on fleshing out the design and construction for Glenham Farm, while simultaneously locating the intervention in a broader social and theoretical context, through more specific drawing and mapping exercises designed to illustrate the effects and phases of the interventions on both the neighborhood and urban scales.
Monday, April 13, 2009
This study has become increasingly focused on the design and analysis of a more appropriate development paradigm within marginalized communities through the appropriation of community legislated activities in the form of impactful, actionable architectural interventions throughout derelict neighborhoods. The project at Glenham Farm accords closely and tangibly with this investigation in its mission to give formal dimension to community motivated (and required) activities. In the same way that many earlier investigations sought to predict and direct the effects of applying conventional architectural parameters of site, structure and program to the "informal," unregulated activities of Third World slum communities, the intervention at Glenham Farm is aimed at introducing a workable set of design parameters and elements to the community that can be modified, critiqued or rejected by the users, and potentially deployed on others sites to accomodate similar types of community activity. This type of engagement, rather than being conceived of and ordained as a prescriptive, absolute solution, is intended to be a solution that users can interface with easily and assume a certain level of authorship of for themselves.
The infrastructure supplied to the site at Glenham is designed around the concept of a negotiable, constructed ground that can be reconfigured depending on occupancy, use and season. The panelized ground system accomodates both an explicit gardening program while additionally providing customizable spaces for gathering, seating, and enclosure. Vertical elements provide the infrastructure for both enclosure and growing, and engages the street in much the same way that convnetional street-tree schemes do.
Locating Glenham Farm in the context of a grander strategy of urban interventions is a more theoretical excercise and one that is conceived of in a series of varying scales and phases. The common denominator between both the program and design of Glenham and any putative interventions within South Providence is focused on how readily and successfully the design and construction parameters employed at Glenham can be reappropriated and deployed to activate other vacant lots within the city to supply communities with more accessible spaces for gathering, learning and gardening.
Strategically programing and building on select sites throughout South Providence could happen in successive phases that would metasticize from one modest site in a localized neighborhood until it has achieved a truly urban presence. The diagram above illustrates these phases by progressively consuming derelict properties and phasing out from the scale of a neighborhood block, up to the metropolitan scale. The drawing below, represents both the exisitng forms of community outreach programs in the city as well as the proposed appropriate program allocations within South Providence. The following maps show the proximities and accessibilities of the programs and institutions to each other throughout the city.