How can the two systems at Morningside Gardens and Grant Houses together reflect collective ownership, such that one becomes less public and the other less private? How can we draw on structural similarities for a post plantation future?
The project attempts to answer these questions by understanding the similarities and differences between the two projects and inferring the opportunities for intervention. Our first observation on site was that the double agents of decoy and doubling start becoming apparent at the ground level of the projects. We took this as the starting point of our design, asking how these systems of control on the ground level could be subverted and how the two communities could be brought together to generate collective value. We approached this by designing a new system through networks that support each other like community kitchens, farms, retail spaces, and eateries that weave into public as well as domestic spaces. We employ architectural as well as placemaking devices to work toward this, including ways for children to interact, depending on the lack of direct biases in their lived experience to try and bring one generation together. Zooming in on the buildings, we question how two completely different architectural languages and what they imply can be reconciled in a way that they too, contribute to subverting plantation logics. Ultimately, we envision this system being adopted in public housing projects across New York City, enabling communities to be better integrated within their larger neighborhoods.