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Hearth

This civic center in Edgemere, Queens, speculates on how a standardized, deterministic system like the butler system can serve as a framework to share people’s individual and collective memories, ideas, and lived experiences as a means to empower the local community to create change in their surroundings. As the four normative barns, each with distinct spatial qualities and programs (greenhouse, workshop, reading room, and a community kitchen), merge into one another, space underneath dissolves into an open and flexible one, becoming the hearth of the community. Here, the rigid butler framing system becomes secondary to a flexible system that can adapt to community needs, providing a safe space where storytelling in all its forms takes center stage.