Philadelphia, PA USA
Councilrock, Kensington Youth Center
Councilrock is an organization founded in the late 1960’s to address Philadelphia’s gang violence and racial unrest and tensions. It is headquartered in Kensington, one of the City’s most impoverished and crime-ridden areas. The Youth Center proposes a framework to integrate dissimilar elements, both programmatically and tectonically. It aspires to instigate a dialogue that celebrates the uniqueness of its constitute parts, while achieving its strength collectively. Beginning with the building’s exterior surface and working inward, conjunctions and disjunctions between disparate elements create opportunities for emergent and evocative properties— the dappled light that fills the Youth Center, filtered and refracted through its protective rubble-skin, or projected outward from its recycled glass digital display, becomes the poetry of synthesis.
This project also proposes an open-source mechanism for deploying large-scale public displays and performative building skins, using recycled materials (crumbled brick and glass bottles), cluster-based electronics, ubiquitous wireless networks and crowd-sourced software frameworks.
The rapid proliferation of large-scale public displays and dynamic building skins in our architectural landscape has highlighted the functional and poetic potential of these technologies, yet revealed the extreme cost, technical complexity, and lack of flexibility of such systems.
The intention is to create a mechanism to share the design strategies and implementations developed, to encourage collaboration and hybridization of the methods, and generally democratize and facilitate the production and use of such systems in our personal and public built environments.