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.
1. The installation begins. Pressure treated timber frames the site spaces.
2. Framing out the planter beds with pressure treated timber and compressed concrete backer boards to create a sound foundation for the lightweight soils and vegetation.
3. Learning how to create a framed arc with Daniel.
4. After many cold, rainy weeks, the framing is near completion.
5. Cladding the framed elements with varied textures and color using corrugated metal and cedar.
6. Carefully carved styrofoam.
7. Drilling the corrugated metal in place.
8. A master carpenter custom cuts each piece of cedar to create a perfectly curved seating bench for the reflection area.
9. A licensed contractor demonstrates the craft of the poured in place rubber surfaces.
10. The blue and yellow mounds sit atop black rubber tiles in the children's play area.
11. Poured in place mounds completed.
12. Poured in place mounds.
13. A neighborhood map is painted onto the concrete pavers in the gathering area.
14. A completed map marks significant places along the major blocks of the Central District.
15. A beautiful aerial view of the map. Major streets extend through the gathering area and connect to other rooms within the rooftop.
16. Adding artistic details to the gabion wall,which lines the reflective seating area.
17. Gabion art of red brick and river rock create an engaging pattern that references African folk art.
18. Installing a terraced water feature to enhance the therapeutic qualities of the reflective area.
19. An aerial perspective of the reflective area, complete with an artistic gabion wall, a pleasant water feature, vegetation and intimate seating.
20. Another aerial perspective.
21. The Pillars of the Community are placed throughout the courtyard, highlighting a celebrated individual amongst the African American community.
22. The “Pillars of the Community” narrate stories of strength, courage, vision, and brotherhood.
23. Pillars of the Community – Ray Charles
24. Planting sedums on the toybox green roof in the children's play area.
25. Planting the vegetation was the final stage of the installation.
26. Adding the finishing touches to the site.
27. A final walk through.
28. A therapeutic rooftop garden at Monica's Village Place I.
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.