The objective of this project is to demonstrate the capacity of the mixed-use duplex building type as a valuable resource for the revitalization of the Martin Drive East neighborhood. The project develops a participatory design tool by identifying the architectural syntax of the building and creating a kit of parts building-set. This design tool may then be handed out to residents and other stakeholders to use in collaboration, spurring meaningful discussions and specialized knowledge of architecture.
The mixed-use duplex, a common building type in Washington Park and Martin Drive neighborhoods, has a built-in capacity for change (Habraken, "The Control of Complexity," 13). Over time, these structures have accommodated multiple uses, from restaurants to worship spaces, demonstrating their flexibility and capacity to accomodate changes over time. Rather than leveling or replacing existing structures, this project proposes the reuse of vacant duplexes in a sustainable process that respects the rich history of this neighborhood.
When the building is broken down into pieces, a pattern begins to emerge. The duplex is made of various wall types, circulation paths, and spatial zones that relate to one another and work together to form a spatial grammar (Habraken, "The Control of Complexity," 6). Each of these parts can be modified and customized, as long as they follow an overarching set of rules. This project aims to explore and explain the parts that compose the mixed-use duplex and translate them into a physical model that can be easily reconfigured.
Because of its location, nestled between Martin Drive, Washington Park, and Harley Davidson, Martin Drive Neighborhood East has a variety of invested stakeholders. At every meeting and event we attended, residents, political affiliates, and developers were eager to get involved, share their opinion, and learn about the goings-on in the community. Nabeel Hamdi writes about “Action Planning” (Small Change, 102), a collaborative ground-up approach to development that aims to engage members of the community and the government, realizing the importance of both parties and integrating their goals and aspirations.
The participatory design tool extends an open invitation for residents, developers, and other community stakeholders to play, to discuss options, and to come to an agreement about the reuse of these vacant structures. This collaboration will better ensure that all ideas are heard and that the resulting development is beneficial to the neighborhood.
The programs represented in the included diagram, case study, and model configurations were derived from community meetings, conversations, and events. The most commonly expressed ideas and concerns were arranged into four categories: food, wellness, community, and education. Provided programs and design examples are intended to spark discussion and provide a starting point for stakeholders to expand upon, adding their own ideas, and molding the design of the building to fill current community needs.
Jane Jacobs, Life and Death of Great American Cities, (New York: Random House, 1961).
N. John Habraken, "The Control of Complexity," Places 4: 2 (1987), 3-15.
Nabeel Hamdi, Small Change: The Art of Practice and the Limits of Planning in Citites, (London: Earthscan, 2004).