dept. of care
The water recirculation system at the department of care meets a series of ‘life services’ at the intersection of 148th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. ‘Life services’ are defined as the necessary services to maintain a fulfilling life: care for the body, the climate, and the soul. Here, they include a grocery store, laundromat, pharmacy, urgent care, train station, and cafe/venue space. This project looks to resources and scholarship on radical love and care—including BroSis five blocks south, Kristin Richardson Johnson’s campaign of radical love in Harlem, and Justin Garrett Moore and the department of care. The proposed dept. of care at the center of this block considers the unnoticed labor and maintenance of these life services, i.e. community and sensory experiences as well as the maintenance of the recirculation water services on the site.
The exterior skin surrounding the life services’ storefronts acts as the structure for the piping systems flowing through the exterior of the buildings. An ode to the historic district of Sugar Hill surrounding it, this piping system also acts as a buffer skin to the overstimulating light caused by the storefronts. Depending on the season, the copper pipes passively heat or cool the vestibule space. At times, the pipe system becomes interior, creating seating as well as providing clean water for cleaning, drinking, and/or bathing.