The site for the project is H street in the Northwestern quadrant of Washington, D.C. The 16 block long stretch of H street was open to us to choose our program and specific site. First I began by looking at the characteristics of the street and what it was I wanted to contribute to the site.
I wanted to investigate an idea that my architecture should follow.I toyed with the concept of curiosity and how it can relate to architectural exploration. I wanted there to be three distinct steps to the experience. 1) Curiosity, 2)Experience/Exploration, and 3)Knowledge. I wanted the architecture itself to plant the seed of curiosity (the first step). Then the program along with the architecture would provide the experience (second step) needed to gain knowledge (third step). This idea stemmed from the eccentricity of the site and the rich history that defines it.
The key to a successfully working project is a successful program content and organization. The content of the program is as follows: Exhibition space, which includes open space for any artwork, images, paintings, or other media that is displayed for public viewing; Books/Library space, which will have mostly books relating to Black History and Martin Luther King Jr.; Newspaper Archive space, which will have microfilm storage and viewing areas for anything, once again, relating to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black History; Lecture Hall, which will be an auditorium for any lectures and events that the Martin Luther King Jr. center will host, or any lectures that the nearby university would like to present. The rest of the program is atrium space, mingling space to share ideas or think new-found information over, and circulation paths that physically connect the programs.
The logic behind this program was to break up the exhibition space and sporadically fill some small surrounding infill sites with this exhibition program. The sites would be 6 of them, each in a different block, surrounding the main building. This would also include 3 bus stops. The idea is that as someone is walking along H street they see these small exhibition areas that stand out from the rest of the buildings and they become curious enough to look inside. Inspired by the images filled with emotion - sadness and desperation, he or she decides to go into the main building where more exhibition space receives them along with books and archives to fill their minds with answers. Ideally, they would wander around and meet others they care to have discussions with, and by the time they leave the main building, they will have learned something, no matter how small.