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The Sanctuary Network at St. Mark’s

Increasing disinvestment in the public sector threatens the welfare of vulnerable communities. In particular, climate refugees and asylum seekers are left to experience immeasurable risk, for their livelihood is compromised by the loss of housing services and legal assistance. In the East Village, St. Mark’s Church functions as a unique community space, having served as a primary anchor for the artistic, political and revolutionary movements of the neighborhood in the 20th Century. The proposal for a Sanctuary Network at St. Mark’s generates a community-minded platform for recent migrants, which extends the protective infrastructure of church, site, and community through a series of user-oriented program tiers. Each tier is coordinated around a set of primary services, including temporary housing, collective kitchens for resident and community use, and service “"pods”“ that house legal counsel, advocacy, and small-scale market spaces. Integral to this system is a circuit of insulated pipes that connect to on-site plumbing and heating, allowing St. Mark’s to feed the program tiers. Project materials emphasize minimal carbon footprint, including Compressed-Laminated-Timber construction and off-the-shelf steel scaffolding. When unoccupied by the sanctuary users, the stackable, vertically-connected housing units can be shared by artists from Danspace, the site’s primary host institution.