Design Workshop Team Presents ‘Porchlight’

2020 might have cancelled our plans and overthrown routines, protocols of action and everything else tagged and tucked away as “familiar,” but the Design Build Workshop stood resilient and inventive despite the many local and global challenges. Amidst turmoil, new partnerships have been formed, places imagined, and ideas shared. 

Last year, SCE students and faculty participated in a collaborative effort to envision and provide a multifunctional outdoor space for production, research and educational purposes. The ideation and initial design iteration process resulted in a space model that could respond to the needs expressed by the project clients, Oko Urban Farms and Weeksville Heritage Center, based in Brooklyn, New York. 

The project was driven by sensitivity to the historical context and preservation needs as well as the focus on civic engagement, community building and inclusivity. Drawing on the history and architectural legacies of the Weeksville Village, one of the first African-American land-owning communities in New York, the team came up with an outdoor pavilion, ‘Porchlight.’ The design was inspired by the tradition of gathering on a porch to share stories, the Afrocentric wood patterns used for the pavilion’s screens, and the form of a gable, a representative architectural element encountered in the locally preserved houses.

To learn more about the project and process, we are happy to share a full group interview from our virtual porch where the students and faculty reflect on their collective work and experiences of designing and bringing to light the places of tomorrow.