Watercolour studies exploring temperature variations through thermal mass
Clay study models using excavation as a means to create space
Plaster sectional models of the light wells in the Taller building. Each nook is designed for an individual to sit and practice their instrument
Isometric drawing showing the various light wells and inhabitable window sills
Aerial photograph of the Taller building
Elevation photograph of the Taller building which is set down into the earth amid a native garden
Long section of the Taller building showing various light well nooks for practicing instruments
Site plan showing the proposed pedestrian pathway from Alazan Creek to the heritage building of Lerma’s nightclub. The proposed community centre is dispersed along the laneway, annexed to the back-side of existing large box stores.
Plan of the timber dance hall and adobe Taller with a native garden in-between
Cross Section of the Taller showing two classrooms with deep window sills and light well nooks for practicing accordion and bajo-sexto guitar.
Pathway to Conjunto! is a community-lead project in the Westside neighbourhood of San Antonio. It rejects the standard model of development that often leads to gentrification and displacement of underprivileged communities. Instead, this project helps to cement the generations-long Tejano heritage by engaging local residents in the construction and management of a new community centre.
The site is defined by large box stores (McDonald’s, Dollar Store, etc) and the excessive asphalt car parks that accompany this typology. The proposed community centre covertly appends itself to the backside of these box stores, claiming under-utilised land for the formation of a pedestrian-only laneway. The new strip, with dispersed community buildings, links Alazan Creek parkway to the existing Lerma’s Nite Club – a historic venue dedicated to supporting the regional Conjunto music.
Drawing parallels between the mixed musical style of Conjunto (a combination of the Mexican bajo-sexto guitar with the German button-accordion) and the heterogeneous mixture of the local architecture (Mexican adobe buildings and European timber construction) this project celebrates all that is inter-cultural. Each of the proposed buildings, with its distinct Conjuntorelated programme, is constructed using timber, adobe or a combination of the two.
The entire development is implemented in phases, allowing the community to grow alongside the architecture. The first phase includes construction of the laneway and the first annexed building; a “Taller” for learning accordion and bajo sexto guitar. Constructed in adobe brick, the Taller is set down into the earth, providing both thermal coolness and a safe, internalised space for learning. The second phase includes a lightweight timber dance hall that opens up to the warm climate allowing music to propagate. Elevated by three steps, this building provides a psychological clue that the activity is celebratory; literally raised up and on display. Following phases include a visiting artist residence, exhibition space, library, recording studios and a soup kitchen.