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The Cookout at Serenity

The Cookout at Serenity seeks to be an architectural manifestation of the traditional African-American Family Cookout. Using Roy DeCarava and Langston Hughes’ The Sweet Flypaper of Life as a visual precedent, the project seeks to highlight the moments of Black Joy lived within the community’s past and present by repurposing Serenity Garden—the community garden of the neighborhood—into a year-round accessible garden and gathering space for the block. Partitioning the layout of the traditional cookout in section, each level speaks to moments of Black Joy for each generation: a playroom for the children to be in the company of one another, the lounge and dancefloor for the adults to catch up with neighbors while expressing themselves through dance and song, and upper story porches and libraries for the elders to relive their moments of Black Joy in their youth while leaving wisdom for the younger generations to continue these moments of community building in the future. Circulation between floors in addition to upper-level balconies enables a cross-generational communion within the space. The ground floor houses a Soul Food Kitchen repurposing the foods grown at Serenity into homecooked meals for the community and their families to enjoy.