Preserving Black Culture//WI 16
In this multi-layered assignment, students drew upon the age-old engagement of African Americans in the arts to derive principles for preserving black culture in Seattle’s Central District. Using one of the largest remaining undeveloped properties in the area, a two-acre block south of East Union Street between 23rd and 24th Avenues, they applied these principles to generate an urban design with buildings that reflect the historic culture and spatial texture of this historic black neighborhood.
In particular, students worked collaboratively to create a tightly packed “village” with ten individual buildings and to program those buildings with a balance of retail and civic space, apartments, and both quite and active public space. In a simulation of real-world practice, students were encouraged to adopt particular “clients” in the local community in developing their proposals, from concept to diagram to program and tectonics.