SHIFTING WALLS

A mixed use complex with residences for elderly and families, health care facilities, restaurants, gathering space, child care, and community services located at the site of a previous existing cross roads - the old 195 highway - crossing the Providence River. The approach to this multifaceted urban scale project was to address the concept of change and of how our bodies understand change in the physical interactions we have with the space around us. The program took shape and meaning in responding to the body and to the changing elements. Within the cradling “wall” of the residences lies the public program: an arcade to wade through changing temperatures of thermal baths within the holistic health center, a path lifted to the crown of the trees to feel shifting breezes between the branches of the seasonal foliage, an expansive platform of grass to lie on or to run on or to perform on. These spaces speak to the natural changing of the seasons, of our bodies exposed to the elements, offering opportunities for essential human experience within the city. The architectural problem was addressed by thinking of ways to remember and ways to forget, and the layers of memory that translate to layers or barriers providing varying degrees of privacy. The residences are structured around a spinal wall that provides separation of interior space, moments of privacy and closeness, from exterior spaces that offer moments for interaction and openness. The layering of spaces in the home are modulated for the spectrum of life to house anyone from the individual to the (extended) family.

2011 // critic Anastasia Congdon
Rhode Island School of Design

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