Point Arena Community Center
Demonstration • Tooling • Facilitation
Community research and community evolvement in the process of making community habitat is what this project is about. Point Arena is a place of great potential. Today, it lacks the armature necessary to focus community action to reach that potential. This Community Center is to be a PLACE of research, dialog, demonstration, design, planning and the coordination of fun projects that enhance the spirit and body of Point Arena.
The concept sketch above illustrates an approach to the project and how to integrate two existing buildings into a compound. It also indicates a means to orient the project to the sun and seasons as well as the ocean view. The actual direction of North as indicated on this sketch is in error. When I drew it, I assumed the property line on the right edge was heading due North. It turns out that North is about 30 degrees angled to the right of this line. This will require a redesign of the entry portals and will, of course determine the detailing of the armature elements. In that, as the Program for the project is developed, there will be several iterations of the Plot Plan required, this first concept sketch, although in error, will be used for the purpose of indicating an approach and for identifying elements of the concept.
On the property, today, are two structures; a Garage that has been converted to a Guest House and a House that is being converted into a Meeting Room. The idea is to add four 22 x 30 foot prefabricated units that can be configured to serve a variety of functions. These units to be tied together by a horizontal glass, “greenhouse” armature. Over all of these existing and new units is a trellis armature in the form of three fan-like shapes (low, medium and high) that angle out and upward from their points. These trellis forms to be made-up of a variety of open, screened, translucent and opaque materials - and sitting platforms. a round “Tower” goes up and through the trellis levels. The ocean can be seen from here. Three sides of the land is sheltered from the predominate winds with earth-berms and on side by cob walls that describes a car parking area and work yard. There are trellis Entries from the Street and the Parking Area. The design strategy of the placement of the prefabricated units, the armature elements, berms and walls is to create a series of micro-climes that support a variety of gardens, permaculture and outdoor living and work spaces through out the entire year. In addition the major axis of the built units will be set to the sun celebrating specific moments of the solar calendar.
As noted, the final design will evolve out of an extended process and will be determined by which specific values the Community Team wishes to stress. The schema shown merely provides a palette of architectural constructs that can be employed different ways to achieve these aim of the Program as it evolves.
Program Statement
This program Statement is the result of several preliminary meetings with the core project sponsors. It’s purpose is to focus the content from these dialogs and to establish a platform upon which a larger group can participate in the Design/Build/Use process of the Center.
As a place to demonstrate alternatives, and to promote them, the Point Arena Community Center has to encompass a great deal of variety and integrate this variety into a single statement that expresses what the totality of the experience is all about. The application of armature facilitates this allowing an eclectic set of tools and spaces (both interior and exterior), yet, presenting a single unified whole.
The functions that have to be accommodated are many: large group meetings, small groups, project areas, Library, work shop and model building areas, multimedia studio, desktop publishing, virtual communication system, personal work areas, staff work area, visitor studio and apartments, community dining, to name a few. Because the “weight” of the mix of these functions will change, as circumstances do and in response to events, the buildings have to be designed to adjust to many functions without compromising any of them. The prefabricated units can be designed to be configurable to a variety of functions with rolling, swinging panels, pull out workstations and closets (designed to support different functions) and so on.
To STAND as a symbol of innovation, change and community, the environment created must make a statement; it must express in action the values being promoted and be living proof of the practicality of those values. It must be a work of art.
To be build-able and to build community, the entire complex has to be designed such that it can be built by a community team and that it can be continuously used while being evolved and realized over time - The Timeless Way of building. In every way, it demonstrates it’s own thesis.
To be affordable, it must derive it’s resources from a wide base, practice a viable business model and produce far more tangible, measurable value than it costs to create it and to operate it.
To be sustainable, it must be part of a network of Centers trading resources and knowledge - an ecology based on a valid understanding of regional ecological, political and economic principles and practices.
To be fun, the seriousness of the issues involved in developing a community in 21st Century America cannot overwhelm the sense of life and play of the Center experience. What this is for is far more important than what it might be against.
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Matt Taylor
April 21, 2003


SolutionBox voice of this document:


posted: April 21, 2003

revised: April 27, 2003
• 20030421.220426.mt • 20030427.663099.mt •

(note: this document is about 15% finished)

Copyright© 2003 Matt Taylor



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