Who are we?
We are a diverse group of scholars ranging in age, gender, and background from all over New York City. We share a common interest in solving our urban challenges through studying and proposing improvements to the built environment. From professors at CUNY CITY TECH to NYCHA Design & Implementation specialists and NYCHA residents, we encompass a group of scholars united by this common purpose.
What are we here to accomplish?
This team of ARCscholars is working collaboratively, sharing lived experiences, creatively thinking & planning and applying our research discoveries to the proposed design interventions. We seek to address and combat critical issues to foster a measurable improvement in community health, understanding, and relationships. Through enhancing the community at large via housing equity and durability and beauty, we hope that the proposed design improvements will have a direct, indirect, and long-lasting positive effects on the NYCHA communities.
How are we doing it?
We have developed an architectural and urban proposal that will enhance the overall quality and design of our case study development: the NYCHA Wagner Houses in Manhattan. Our research included a comprehensive site investigation, multiple informative discussions with the Resident Leaders at the development, and an understanding of planning issues. We met weekly to analyze, discuss, and investigate architectural and urban concepts, and develop specific planning interventions. We also me in person twice to workshop ideas and establish close personal connections. Personal anecdotes from our NYCHA resident students helped inform the design strategy.
What have we found?
Our research informed us that our proposal should address the overall campus in addition to providing specific design interventions. The students were divided into three groups, based on their interests, and focused on three main categories of development: an overall site strategy, a reimagining of the senior center and a redesign of the youth center.
We learned that there is a large senior population at Wagner Houses and chose to focus on the design and improvement of the Senior Center. The existing Senior Center has no seating areas or equipment to enjoy. The space in front of the building is a large concrete plaza that is used as a parking lot. As a group we chose to develop both the interior entry space in the building and the surrounding landscape and plaza. The current entryway will be converted into a multipurpose room enclosed by glass. There will be a deck added to the sides and accessible ramps placed within a new colorful landscape. In addition, the entry plaza will be developed to include seating, landscape, and catenary lights. The new interior spaces, new deck and ramps, additional lights, color, and access to the gardens will unify the space and provide a safe, appealing set of spaces for the senior population.