Is it possible to provide an architectural solution that builds a sense of community, empowerment, and hope for the homeless in Seattle?
- provides living space for 160+ people
- gives back to the community
- family friendly
With one of the highest rates of homelessness in the United States, Seattle lacks shelters to provide for the homeless. The lack of safe shelters has made many of the homeless turn towards drugs, resulting in a high rate of death from overdose. This building is not just a shelter but also a therapeutic place where residents are able to give back to the community by gardening, farming, or harvesting food for the city. Harvested crops can then back to the city through farmer’s markets, local restaurants, and grocery stores. Workshop programs will be initiated as well so that the residents living here are able to find a secure place in their lives from their jobs to their health and even go on to move into a permanent house. The building will also be reconfigured to utilize the city’s abundance of rainwater to provide water for the building as well and cycle back into the different gardens.
Case studies consist of research on inspirational and similar projects to note what my project needs and what will work best.
Users, Needs, & Insights
This project will not be able to provide for every person so some kind of qualification will be needed to prioritize who is allowed to live here. This qualification can range from their drug abuse history, interest in applying for jobs, largeness of family and/or children, age, and willingness to participate and help the community. These qualifications will also be considered for moving people who have shown security in a stable job and health to a new home while moving others off a waiting list.
Since a fair amount of this building consists of living quarters, the building will need community bathrooms, spacious rooms to house multiple people, and a community kitchen/ dining space on each floor. Multiple indoor and outdoor gardens will also be needed throughout the building and the water from nearby runoffs or collected rainwater will be treated before being pumped back into the building. A clinic will be stationed so that residents can monitor their health. Different types of volunteers will also be needed from medical students checking the health of residents, to farmers and plant specialists who are able to help oversee the farms. Anyone can volunteer and making this a more community space will be beneficial!
While Seattle is a very expensive place to live, many of the large tech corporations are willing to step up and fund shelter projects. Companies like Amazon and Microsoft have recently been involved with creating homeless shelters in the city so this project will need a partnership with one/or multiple companies for funding.
We now look at key components of the project: the site, the interior & exterior plans, and the specifics of furnishing.
My Response: The Green Shelter Model
From the Outside…
From the Inside…
The lobby represents many qualities that we want to showcase to everyone. A clinic and lots of bathroom space are available to address basic necessities. Different farming techniques from vertical gardens to hydroponic farms are also showcased to raise awareness of indoor farming and increase interest in volunteering.
Each floor features living space for around 80 people with compact but private capsule beds. A community kitchen, a living room, and well-equipped bathrooms are also equipped on the residential floors.
The rooftop contains many diverse forms of outdoor farming and although it’s very hard to see on the model, wells around the sides of the rooftop collect rainwater that mixes with other filtered sewage water from around the neighborhood to pump water for the hydroponic, vertical, and indoor farms.
More info + my Works Cited!
(link to insights to specifics of room descriptions, pictures into the furnished rooms, and more below!)
The Green Shelter Presentation Process (includes citations)
Please respond to the following questions in the comments below and think about shelters around you that might be able to adapt similarly!
- Can you think of ways to make shelters or even buildings around you more “green” and sustainable?
- How can different communities destigmatize the labels we put on people who are homeless?
- Do you think that this design could be implemented in other parts of the world to be utilized to the best of its ability?
- What about this shelter do you think works well and what could be improved upon? For example, looking back, I think that the building structure looks very institutionalized. What changes could help make this design more user-friendly or homely?