A work in progress for the Tarkwa Breman Community Alliance in Ghana.
Architect of Record: Sanduel Company Limited Architects and Engineers. Ghana.
Designed in Collaboration with Donny Zellefrow
This project aims to create spaces and concepts that allow for the future growth of the Cocoa 360 campus. The designs look at a holistic community development model that focuses on education and health as levers for systemic change in rural communities. The design is meant to reflect and amplify these core values, and focus on people, and the environment.
This first phase of the project includes the Community Library seen here.
Phase Two starts in Fall 2017
Opportunity Space: Sweden
Opportunity Space was an international Design Competition hosted by the Van Allen Institute to design a temporary pavilion focused on the programming and services provided for refugees resettling in Malmo, Sweden.
Our design for the NEST modules, was a prefabricated kit-of-parts that could be easily moved and deployed. The variety of parts would allow for an almost infinite amount of redesign to allow for a variety of spatial and programmatic needs as it applies to the work related to refugee resettlement in Malmo.
Mantua Market: Philadelphia
This competition entry was designed in collaboration with Donald Zellefrow, Eduardo Santamaria, Jean-Pierre Casillas.
The above was completed as part of the Better Philadelphia Challenge competition hosted by the Philadelphia Center for Architecture. The following is an excert from the official competition website:
The Mantua/Belmont section of Philadelphia was chosen as one of President Obama’s first “Promise Zones” for economic development – one of only five in the country. This neighborhood is bordered by some of Philadelphia’s largest institutions (the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, the Philadelphia Zoo, and Fairmount Park), as well as by large industrial sites (most notably the AMTRAK rail yards). As part of this neighborhood’s development, what physical design interventions could encourage healthy and active lifestyles, thereby improving public health among residents?
The competition entry sought to address the complexities of the prompt through the following strategies:
WHAT IS MANTUA?
The neighborhood of Mantua in West Philadelphia is caught ‘in-between’. Two leading institutions, Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania are located on the southern edge of the neighborhood. To the north, Fairmount Park (one of the largest urban parks in the United States) provides a myriad of amenities like the Philadelphia Zoo and regional pedestrian trails.
Even so, Mantua benefits little from these entities and is instead taxed with pervasive urban blight. Mantua is trapped by cutting off access to the east through an active regional railyard; decrepit bridges entrap and isolate Mantua likely contributing to the high levels of crime in the area.
Furthermore, scarce employment opportunities and lack of access to food (Mantua is considered 100% food desert) contribute to the alarming rate of vacancies.
In early 2014, President Obama, designated 5 metropolitan areas in the United States as ‘Promise Zones’. These Promise Zones would receive preferential status when applying for federal resources to combat poverty. The 5 zones are San Antonio, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, The Choctaw Nation and West Philadelphia.
Mantua, located in West Philadelphia, is a representative neighborhood demonstrating enormous potential in alleviating issues of health, education and poverty.
THE WEST PHILADELPHIA EXCHANGE
As a tool of implementation, our design seeks to address the most pertinent and crucial aspect of Mantua; its overall disconnection and lack of symbiosis between its people and assets. Our site analysis strategy consisted of 1) mapping clusters of vacant properties 2) highlighting community amenities such as parks, schools and community centers and 3) prioritizing urban corridors as a tool for connection.
These urban corridors offer the most potential to holistically serve Mantua as a whole and provide a legible and cohesive tool for connecting to existing amenities and incubate new opportunities for renewal.
Through an overlay of maps and diagrams, 3 urban corridors emerged as having the most impact for revitalization; 1) Spring Garden Street 2) Powelton Avenue and 3) Girard Avenue.
VERBS, NOT NOUNS
Community revitalization often talks about new buildings, new parks, and new amenities that will be added to a neighborhood. The problem with building so many ‘nouns’, is that it doesn’t instill the neighborhood with long-term change. The West Philadelphia Exchange (WPE) is designed to engage the community of Mantua with ‘verbs’.
The WPE is a call to action; by creating a framework we focus on decentralization allowing for mobility and flexibility. This materializes as a loop of activity that connects and fosters the 3 urban corridors:
1) TRAIN + EMPLOY: Spring Garden Street serves as a hub for teaching and learning related to technology and creativity.
2) FOOD CO-OP + PLAY: Powelton Avenue is designated as an incubator for the mind and the body by creating a relationship between healthy eating practices with unexpected opportunities for exercise.
3) TRANSIT STOP + EATERY: Girard Street capitalizes on the transient nature of the intersection by linking to regional transit and pairing them with opportunities for event and leisure on a daily basis.
EXCHANGE OF GOODS AND IDEAS
The distributed nature of the WPE creates intersections for different demographics and skill sets to come together in a new platform; e.g. rather than simply proposing a job skills center, the framework can provide opportunities for new ways of thinking for the modern workforce.
The flexible and mobile nature of the WPE capitalizes on the radical notion that neighborhood ownership can be transformative; the project provides unexpected ways to give the neighborhood agency and allow it to participate in its own future.
World War I Memorial: Washington, DC
This competition entry was created in collaboration with Donald Zellefrow and J.P. Casillas
The above was completed as part of the World War One Memorial competition on the site of the Pershing Memorial. The following is an excert from the official competition website:
Alone among the four great wars of the 20th century—the "American century"—there is no national memorial to World War I in our nation's capital. More American servicemen—116,516—gave their lives in that war than in the Korean and Vietnam wars combined, and 200,000 more came home wounded and maimed. Yet while those who fell in Korea and Vietnam, as well as in World War II, are honored and remembered with memorials on the National Mall, no such recognition is given to the veterans of World War I.
In December 2014, one hundred years after the start of the war, the U.S. Congress passed legislation to redress this omission. Congress authorized the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission to establish a new memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue, one block from the White House and with a commanding view of the Capitol.
The competition entry sought to address the complexities of the prompt through the following three strategies:
Memorial walls covered in hundreds of thousands of Unforged Medals flow and move in the wind. Each medal represents sacrifices made for the greater war effort both overseas and on the home front. In partnership with Northwest Territory Mint (fabricator of all modern military medals), each disk will be crafted from the same brass used for military medals, connecting the landscape with the heroism and valor of service men and women, both past and present.
While there are no longer any living survivors of WWI, visitors can touch the disks as a way of connecting with a life effected by the war, and trace the movement across the surface as a reminder of the still-living memory of these heroic Americans.
The design is a reflection of the bridges, trenches, and war torn landscapes of WWI. The memorial walls of Unforged Medals are cut into the landscape and offer a unique place of reflection and engagement. A land bridge rises across the site offering 360 degree views of Washington, D.C., and an opportunity to reflect on the future of our nation. A series of gardens speak to the landscapes of central Europe destroyed by war, yet reborn through nature.
The site integrates into the broader urban fabric of Washington, D.C. as an experientially rich and diverse modern memorial park. It is a place equally suited for the one-time visitor or the everyday user, with the grandiose scale of the memorial giving way to richly layered social spaces.
Paseo Bravo: Puebla, Mexico
Designed in Collaboration with Grace Cho
University of Pennsylvania
An academic project for the redesign of Paseo Bravo park in Puebla, Mexico. This historical and once vibrant park in Mexico has great potential to become a hub of community activities. By creating a series of paths that culminate in a large circular building, the new Paseo Bravo would be a place of possibilities, and built upon the most popular community activity: walking with friends. The program includes space for community events, and a large cultural institution.
Roosevelt Island Tech Campus: New York City
This was an academic project that was designed in collaboration with Jenna Bolino.
University of Pennsylvania
Our design for the campus on Roosevelt Island was built upon the idea of creating interconnected streets within the building to allow for impromput meetings, interactions, and shared social experiences. The future of work, education, and entrpreneruship should not be seperated within a building, but connected and overlapping. This allows for the created opporutnity of serendipitous innovation.
Peace Corps Memorial Competition: Washington, DC
This competition entry was designed in collaboration with Clay Shortall
As a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Ghana 07-09), this project allowed me to reflect upon my own service, and the goals of Peace Corps that I aim to uphold. The design for Peace Corps Memorial, was a pavilion built upon self-reflection and story telling. The parametrically created form would be constructed of copper. The highly polished interior surface would allow for self-reflection and the sense of connectedness of all Americans to the Peace Corps program.
The Pavilion itself was placed in the site to allow be a platform for story telling, and a chance to meet the Third Goal of Peace Corps: To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans. If you look closely at the images, you will see me standing in the pavilion with my host and best-friend from Peace Corps Ghana.
Global Latrine Project
The Global Latrine is a conceptual idea for a prefabricated composting toilet that could be shipped anywhere in the world to provide nearly instant sanitation.
This design came from my work as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana from 2007-2009 where I built 6 composting ventilated latrines with my community. It was labor intensive and quite expensive. The lack of proper sanitation throughout the world leads to an unnecessary amount of sickness and death each year. I hoped to create a faster, safer, and more sustatainable solution to improved sanitation across the globe.