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Practice : Spring 2012
The Off Grid-Grid: Empowering People through Power Gate way project highlights our student’s desire to implement design improvements to urba n c ommunities. The proje ct e volved out of a previous G ateway project with the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston, where Bachelor of Architec- ture students Za chary Whipple and Bradley Cashin and Master of Architecture students Holly Arnold, Evan Bittel, a nd Elizab eth Leg ault proposed a plan that empowered underser ved communities through independent renew able energies. In the second phase of the project, Bachelor of Architecture students Brian Messer, Stan Poreda, and Master of Architecture students Pavel Reg us and Jay Under wood, under the instruction of Abdul Medallah, Director of Assessment a nd Research, Practice, built upon the first tea m’s work and proposed the cre ation of a sustainable energ y net work to regenerate the Boston waterfront, green spac es , a nd surrounding neighborhoods that they named The Off Grid-Grid. Through a process of site repurposing and new site de velopment, revenue from energ y production will be used to restore ecological balance, a nd build and support solar systems within the surround- ing neighborhood s while foc using of the reversal of negative urban decay. To develop The Off Grid-Grid, the team resea rched characteristics of economically struggling communities and urban decay patterns . In Dorchester a nd Roxbury, the students discovered that the pattern wa s seen along rail routes and in Allston a nd Chelsea it was found along the river front. The team soon realized that this misused and under- utilized spa ce could become the loc ation for sustainable energ y infra structure. The team then began to research different types of sustainable energy technology and systems a nd sustainable energ y capacity within the region of Eastern Ma ssachusetts. Through their work, the team synthesized a large scale prototype of rene wable energ y systems that produce power on a regional sc ale. The tea m returned to re-foc us on Chel sea and East Boston medium scale urban decay sites to design a sustainable energy net work built upon four pillars; Energy, Ec ology, Housing and Economy. Through further investigation, the tea m developed a strategy that targeted the fossil fuel infrastructure a long the crowded shoreline of the Chelse a River. The team concluded that this infrastructure, dominated by giant oil tanks, va st stretche s of pavement and barren surface was nearing the end if its’ economic value a nd that these spac es would soon become brownfields and urban waste land. To conclude their project, the tea m presented their model to Robert Terrell, the Hou sing Ser vice s a nd Outreach Program Manager, Fair Housing Center at the end of the Fall 2011 seme ster. It is the hope of the BAC student team that their contribution of The Off Grid-Grid will support the causes that Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston is advoc ating for Boston neighborhoods, in particular opportunities of equal access to resourc es that are susta inable. Photo caption here, yay. The Off Grid-Grid: Empowering People through Power Off Grid-Grid presentation to Fair Housing PRACTICE 32 FEATURE ]GATEWAY INITIATIVE