Willets Point is a unique business incubator that provides jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities to diverse new immigrant populations from surrounding neighborhoods. It concentrates on auto-related facilities in an area that is relatively shielded and separate from the residential parts of Corona and Flushing. Presently, there is a government proposal in place for Willets point, but it is met with bitter opposition from the immigrant community as it is going to aid and fast-track gentrification in the surrounding areas, devastating working-class immigrant residents. This project aims at capturing the story of this mini-blue collar economy by trying to retain them.
The project approaches this in 3 stages – Firstly, it focuses on the ecological restructuring of the land. Soil is treated and toxins are eradicated with polluted soil being capped, removed, and isolated. Secondly, social structures are integrated into the existing fabric to serve the immigrant community. Lastly, the inevitable transition of the automobile industry into the hybrid & electrical phase is taken into consideration, taking a look at how the existing manufacturing industry can be repurposed to adapt to this change. Intermediate units have formed that repeat and mix with former industries to make up the new fabric. The top-level, where the community and housing expand, use the existing garage structure to leverage different architectural typologies such as vertical circulation, bridges, open balconies, and different typologies such as housing, bodegas, libraries, and new industries. The wider intention is to preserve the automobile legacy and manufacturing spirit of the place.