This proposal, integrating exposed sustainably-sourced wood in all aspects of its exterior façade and interior CLT+Glulam structure, works to foster feelings of honesty, congregation, and openness within its architecture to produce an engaging neighborhood atmosphere that revives the tight-knit community Oakwood once was while creating a safe space for historically marginalized Black and Brown residents.
3 predominant site forces influenced design and programming: the First Baptist Church of Venice, neighboring schools, and the large concentration of homeless encampments surrounding the primary arteries of the site. As a result, 3 primary words frame the entirety of the project: “CONGREGATE” relating to the church and activism in Oakwood, “EDUCATE” relating the necessity to provide the general community with greater intergenerational learning resources, and lastly, “OUTREACH” relating to homelessness, food insecurity, and an overall lack of supportive mental and physical health infrastructures. These categories translate into separate zones that are connected into a collaborative lobby environment, including a Congregation Center, Outreach Center, Intergenerational Learning Center, and a Digital Learning Center.
The streets, sidewalks, and front yards of homes were once a way of making and sustaining community, and this proposal reactivates those pedestrian interactions through circulation patterns that permeate the site and through its welcoming, warm presence. This project celebrates nature through being conscious towards the environment and ultimately provides Oakwood’s community with a place of belonging that values the neighborhood’s history and culture and provides spaces that amplify black and brown voices.