AN EXTENSION OF HOME
Collectively as a team of fresh, eager design students, the design build class of 2011 developed an artful and therapeutic rooftop garden for the Catholic Community Services of Seattle. Located in the heart of the historic Central District, the rooftop garden, embraces a low income, African American community at Monica’s Village Place I residential housing.
Working in unison with Catholic Community Services representatives and Monica’s Village Place I residents, the students formed into multiple groups to develop inspired conceptual designs. Synthesizing these varied concepts, the final design, “Home”, evolved. The notion of “home” supported the various social and cultural concerns and needs of the residents, thus transforming the rooftop into an outdoor living room that facilitated community, reflection, exploration and active play. The rooftop is comprised of distinct rooms, with “lookout” nooks on the far east and west corners of the site. Carefully laid out, the rooftop has an open, linear flow that establishes fluid movement from room to room. To strengthen this cohesive connection, a mix of cedar, corrugated metal, a vibrant color and plant palette, and celebratory pieces of art are present within each space.
The children’s play area was designed to encourage active, safe play amongst the hard surfaced rooftop. A soft, rubber tiling was installed, and erected from them are three colorful poured in place rubber mounds. The toy box, equipped with an eco-friendly green roof, and diverse toys and tricycles allows the children to add to the fun and excitement of the mounds. Amphitheater seating frames the gathering space and a local, neighborhood map painted onto the pavers, reminds residents of the extended community in which they are all part of. The reflective area, marked by an elegantly, curved seating area, provides an intimate, more isolated room in which to think and rest. A vegetative palette of tall grasses, and bamboos, and the tranquil sounds of a trickling water fountain, add therapeutic value to this space. Standing proud within each of these rooms are the “Pillars of the Community” art pieces. Thoughtfully designed to encourage thoughts of hope, courage and strength, the artwork was composed to celebrate members of the African American community that embodied these qualities.