At the beginning of the term I was approached by a fellow international student (Saule K.) asking if I would be interested in working on a competition project with her. The competition was put together through the United Nations Office in NY by the International Committee for Caring Communities. The general premise of the competition was to “identify and analyze a particular neighborhood or district… devise a project which can act as a catalyst to address key issues of an aging population.”
Partly because of convenience but also because of how well it fit into the context of the project, we chose to design a building that expanded on an existing retiree service center in a small residential district near the Nanjing University. The goal was to create a space that could be used for a variety of activities not only for the elderly residence in the area but also for families.
We began to brain storm and came up with the idea of an “urban forest” that borrowed from the idea of trees representing life but also would promote a green environment in an area that was essentially a cement box. As the building design started to take form it actually became tree or “forest like” which further promoted our concept.
The end result is a newly designed space that is both lively and adaptable, can provide services for the elderly residen
ts in the immediate area and creates an activity space that is family oriented and inviting to younger generations. The ground floor was separated into both more private in door spaces that will focus on massage theropy along with other health and wellness issues, and an outdoor area that would be used for mingling, board games and other small group activities. The second floor is essentially one large room with glass walls. We designed the interior walls to be mobile so that the space could be changed depending on the needs of the residents. Besides the stairs inside the existing building there is also a ramp in place to provide ease of access to the second floor. The roof is completely devoted to a green garden area. Not only would this provide a therapeutic activity for people using the facility but would also bring a large green environment flowing into the residential area that before had little more than a few potted plants.
I was very luck that my partner working on this project is a gifted young designer and a very hard worker. I can only take credit for my part of the conceptual idea and some of the hand drawings, where she really owned the project and was able to bring it to life. We were slightly rushed to finish our display boards as the final date for entries is December 31st and both of us have other school work and projects that take up a lot of our time.
However, we are very happy to announce that as of 2pm (Beijing time) on Christmas Eve, our entry was in the mail and on the way to NY. It was extremely fulfilling to see the posters being printed out. Of course won’t find out anything about results till mid-January but all participants have been invited to attend the “Urban Futures: New Mindsets: High-Level workshop at the UN Headquarters in February. I doubt I will be making the flight back to the US but still, the thought of it is amazing. This is the first design competition I have ever entered and given our busy schedules and time restraints I am very happy with the end product.
The below four images are our presentation boards for the competition. 4 large poster meant to present the whole of our concept. We hope you like them!