Graduate Studio / Spring 2011 // Sketchup + Adobe Suite // 5 weeks // Team Project
Included in UNDER.ON.GONE. graduate design exhibition, which was recognized by the AIA Central States for Excellence in Master Planning / Urban Design.
Innovation requires seeing your design constraints as opportunities.
When the interstate highway first cut through this area of Kansas City, the residential Westside neighborhood was both physically and psychologically separated from the more urban Crossroads District. In the decades since then, the differences between the two neighborhoods have continued to increase. This project sought to find a way to repurpose the highway structure between the two in order to stitch the neighborhoods back together in harmony, as a stronger community,
A highway overpass provides an exceptional platform for natural resource collection: tremendous amounts of space that is open to sunlight, wind and rainfall; structurally capable of supporting practically any load; strong connections into existing urban infrastructure and resources. Repurposing the highway into a swath of sustainable infrastructure would potentially draw developers and funding to an area that would greatly benefit from the attention.
The northern end of the site houses a new school of the arts and dance, to complement KC’s new Performing Arts Center, with the repurposed highway pathways running beneath it and branching out to different connection points among the nearby neighborhoods. The southern end of the site repurposes an abandoned warehouse building into a large grocery store and urban market, providing a venue for the community to purchase fresh produce and learn proper farming techniques. The master plan also calls for a series of multifamily housing complexes to fill the gaps within the current framework of the two neighborhoods, helping to restore a healthy sense of density in the neighborhoods.
This project was included in a studio-wide design exhibition called UNDER.ON.GONE., which presented research on the interstate and its effects on the community, along with a series of projects that sought to solve the problems as well as prompt conversation on the issues at hand. The exhibition was honored with the AIA Central States Region Award for Excellence in Master Planning and Urban Design, recognizing the extents of the research as well as the creativity of the design solutions.
The project included a series of research infographics studying the potential sustainable outcomes and yields of the site, as well as statistics to put these figures into context.