Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pickett Cotton Mill Midterm Presentation

When I first saw Pickett Cotton Mill I imagined it restored back to its historical context, with its large windows back in place, streaming beams of daylight upon pools of activity.  A renewed purpose, revitalized and full of life and vitality.  It made me smile.  What could I do with this space!  

                    Blend, the coffeehouse at Greenbelt, integrated the windows with functionality

Upon arriving at Greenbelt my vision for Pickett was realized with our precedent study of this repurposed space, and a guided tour from its architect, Eddie Belk.  The combination of the old with the new captured our hearts as the design respected its distinction in history with an authenticity to our heritage of North Carolina.  

                                  Artwork on display in the Blend at Greenbelt

Beginning with a new concept for me, the driving force was always the light.   As humans we seek comfort for our bodies but we all crave a connection to the natural world.  In following with the teachings of Thomas Berry, I wanted to connect the interior space to the land, and design a space from a holistic perspective that was fully integrated, not only for the authenticity of the space, but also to pay homage to the land it rested upon.  

First impressions of a space are most important, but that impressive begins as we approach the space.  What brought us there?  What captures our interest?  Why do we choose one place over another?  I wanted to bring wonder and excitement into the space as I allowed each facet to build upon the other, unfolding into a natural progression.   

A visit to DeBeen Expresso coffeehouse in High Point was a rare find that embodied the spirit of authenticity for an eclectic "third space" design.  

In addition to loving the fountain in the center of the room with fish swimming around in it, we were dazzled as to how well the character of the place washed over us.  Everywhere we looked was a special attention to detail that made the experience at DeBeen richer with our  participation in the amusement.  Above us the ceiling was made of used burlap coffee bean bags adding to the atmosphere, like pieces of a puzzle it all came together. 
Guided by the program of affordable housing for low income families and an artistic community, I considered key objectives that would lead to the success of the project by identifying the needs of users for this space.  Starting with a new beginning I explored the educational resources of childcare as a vital core component.  I researched precedent studies of Thomas Berry's Genesis Farm and the Greensboro Children's Museum, teaching our leaders for tomorrow that we are all members of a community of plants and animals. 

The community is centered around sustainable design practices, an edible garden with small animals, integrated playground into the landscape, with expanded goals for a water collection system and micro power systems like wind and hydro-electric.  Using suggestions from Evan Ben-Joseph's book on "ReThinking A Lot", integrated the parking lot into the landscape with permeable surfaces and vegetation.  Making purposeful choices to design a mix-use space that takes full advantage of a combination of good ecological decisions with tax credits.

I started to develop my plan with the separation of spaces from public and private use, controlling the traffic patterns for childcare and mercantile.  Looking at egress requirements for the most restrictive applications of mix-use space, assembly.  

Design Matrix

After I set the traffic and egress paths, I was able to allocate blocks of space that I could  developed into patterns of circulation for the movement of activities within the space.  In separating the childcare from the mercantile I introduce activities between the two main anchors that would serve as a smooth transition between the spaces.  In understanding the need for a wide range of childcare that included some supervision of after school programs, I placed a library adjacent to the child care.  The library included computers with an adjacency space for a reading lounge.  The adjacency to the library and reading room followed with the business incubator and conference room, and the artist studios spanning the length of these spaces.  The natural progression that followed was public rest rooms, mercantile.  

                                            First Floor Plan

The mercantile spaces include a beauty/barber salon, coffee shop, a drug store with soda fountain, a farmer's market from the produce grown in the urban garden, and community kitchen with restaurant.  The community shared kitchen spaces are a small business incubator venture that residence can rent.  

A new dawn is rising at Pickett Cotton Mill, filled with new ideas and ventures of a new beginnings.  

The Child Care plan will have separate spaces for varying age groups, separate sleeping area for infants and toddlers, a parenting conference room for classing, a directors office, kitchen facilities, ample rest areas, and a reception area.  

I'm focusing on the childcare section in my design because I believe this will play an important role in the community

Child Care Model

The library will also play an important role to the educational needs of the children and adults alike in the community.  It is located between the childcare facility and the business incubator.  It will contain computers and will provide the opportunity for those who could not have access to a computer because of financial needs.  I see this as a satellite public library the will be supported with public funds.

Restaurant Space

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