Upping the Ante for Suburban Retrofitting

For the final topic in its blog series Lab Notes I, the BMW Guggenheim Lab has enlisted June Williamson to address repurposing buildings and urban infrastructure for more productive uses.
March 1, 2012, 11am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Whereas much attention has been paid (by Williamson herself) to retrofitting defunct suburban buildings such as vacant malls, strip centers, big-box stores, office parks, and garden apartment complexes along a "live, work, and play" redevelopment model, Williamson proposes going further to investigate "other uses-more ecologically, socially, and economically productive uses-that might be adapted to the emergent suburban-retrofitting paradigm."

Working with landscape architect Anne Vaterlaus, Williamson tested this approach on a 160-acre parcel in the east Los Angeles "ethnoburb" of Pico Rivera. In developing design schemes for a failing "towne center", Williamson and her partner, "considered how this site might be retrofitted once again, with more resiliency, by introducing a retooled model based on production, designed around training, employing, housing, and feeding a local labor force in need of skills and opportunities."

The resulting design concepts, focused around jobs, affordable housing, and food production, are intriguing.

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Published on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 in LAB|log
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