My students celebrated the end of their semester last night at the awards ceremony for the FHLB Affordable Housing Development Competition. Over the past six weeks they have been working with Donald Alexis from the Caribbean Integration Community Development (CICD) along with architecture and policy students from Harvard’s Kennedy School and Northeastern to design an affordable housing proposal in Mattapan.
The students’ project, dubbed the Vilaj Jardin (Village Garden in Haitian Kreyol) proposed 56 units of rental, artist, and owner-occupied affordable housing with a ground floor commercial space, located on the old Cote Ford property on Cummins Highway. Within the compressed studio schedule of the competition, they met and interviewed community members; worked collaboratively with each other to identify financing sources for their proforma; convinced local organizations like the Pine Street Inn to partner with them and provide social services for the future residents; and created a conceptual design for three separate residential buildings. Their residential designs were influenced by the vernacular architecture of Haiti; incorporating generous porches and inter-generational gathering spaces, while also creating a series of buildings that related contextually to the surrounding neighborhood.
Potential next steps for the students include working with CICD to refine their proposal, in anticipation of the Cote Ford Site RFP that should be out in the next few weeks.