Pool and Community Center at Frederick Douglass Houses

I began this project by interviewing a veteran building maintenance man at our site in the Frederick Douglass Houses on W.104th Street in Manhattan. I used our conversation to understand what type of facility might be desired for residents in this location and I recorded some key quotes from our conversation on a map of the site. One of the main ideas I took away was the need for an on-site community space for residents. The maintenance man complained that when residents needed to commune to discuss changes, vote, celebrate, and organize, the only space they could use was an empty basement room in one of the housing towers.

Once the need for a community space was established, I differentiated several usage types: 
1.     2 auditoriums- a flexible place for community meetings, presentations, etc. One is located indoors and another on a large stair on the roof.
2.    A roof top skate park for adolescents in the community.
3.    A Pool recreational space for everyone including private changing rooms and a sauna.
4.    A café that hosts the kids’ summer breakfast and lunch program that is already in service on site.

Because I had examined the water usage in the city on a previous project, I wanted to integrate this knowledge into the community center.  I also wanted to give the garden spaces, lost for construction, back in some way to the neighborhood.  With this objective, I used rooftop Aquatic cells as a slow filtration system through phytoremediation, so that rain water was cleaned through wetland plants and planting media. The water was then stored underground and used for the pools and locker rooms. The wetland plants in turn provided a functional and accessible rooftop water-garden.