Home is Here: Community and Health Center
Urey Fernandez, Juan Pablo
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Over 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the shadows all across America. They live with the fear of being separated from their families and the risk of being detained or deported back to a country they escaped. This thesis explores ideas of home, safety, and belonging through different elements in architecture, utilized to create welcoming and safe spaces. The community and health center is designed to reach, support, and empower immigrants, while acting as a new home where immigrants access a variety of health, education, and social programs. The project reuses and re-purposes an abandoned building, which was originally designed to welcome immigrants, by carving out historic spaces while creating a new addition that gives it new life. To create a more welcoming experience, the existing brick building is integrated with the new through the use of natural materials, color, and the addition of large openings that allow natural light to fill the interiors. The design of large gathering areas both inside and outside allow people to come together and create a sense of community. Located in the center of immigrant neighborhoods, the proposed community and health center acts as a new beacon of hope and tranquility for immigrants in the District of Columbia.
General Audience Abstract
Everyday more than 11 million undocumented children and adults face the fear of being separated from their families and the risk of being placed in caged-like cells called immigrant detention centers. Rather than having more spaces that criminalize and treat immigrants inhumanely, this thesis seeks to design a space that welcomes and supports undocumented immigrants. A proposed community and health center is designed to reach, support, and empower immigrants, while acting as a new home where immigrants could access a variety of health, education, and social programs. The project reuses and repurposes a section of an abandoned building, originally built to provide housing and health services to immigrants, and introduces a new addition with the goal to preserve and continue its history as a place for immigrants. In order to create a more welcoming and safe experience, the design of the proposed building integrates three different strategies. First, the integration of sustainable natural materials and warm colors in the structure of the new addition and the interiors of the existing building. Second, the integration of large operable openings that frame views of the exterior landscape and allow natural light and fresh air to fill the interiors. Lastly, the integration of gathering spaces in the landscape and interiors that allow people to come together and create a sense of community. The proposed community and health center would become a new beacon of hope and tranquility for undocumented immigrants that live with fear and face different obstacles due to their legal status.
- Masters Theses