This project titled “Finding Placement in the Displaced” was part of the intro fall studio course that focused on designing habitable environments in the age of self-driving, autonomous vehicles. Assigned the site of an iconic crumbling facade in downtown Providence, pairs of students were asked to conduct in-depth research and analysis of a chosen user group, and then design a living environment for that chosen group for the year 2100. Given that the rear of the facade was a surface parking lot, this left us with plenty of space to design an environment. The main hurdle, however, was that by the year 2100- downtown Providence would be completely submerged under water.
Our chosen user group were refugees who had fled their homes due to unforeseen natural disasters. Understanding that one of the major resources refugees need when resettling is a sense of belonging and community, we designed self-sustaining, mobile, floating, pods that not only serve as a habitable space, but also a mode of transportation, and- when clustered together- a sense of community and belonging. By using 22nd century technologies, these pods are able to dock into stations where it can be recharged or connected to utilities. Adapting the existing floors within the facade provides the refugee community with functions that would remain fundamental no matter the year. Functions such as: recreation, nature & outdoors, grocery, access to transportation, and in this particular case, access to water.
The pods, coupled with the adaptive reuse of the facade give refugees all they would need for an affordable cost. Altogether, allowing them to find placement in what would otherwise be the displaced.
This project was in collaboration with Abdullah Abid.