The Culture House
Critics: Chris Shears, Lilly Djaniants
What does it say for us as a society when we actively choose to leave one of the most interconnected intersections in Denver as a blanket of pavement for parking, all for the sake of profit? Within the context of a developer driven market and in a time where the privatization of public space continues to increase, this studio aimed to reconcile the tension between social and economic resiliency on a singular site. The notion of “third-space”, a realm belonging to neither work nor home, was explored as a means to nest the public and private realms together to instigate a multiplicity of social intersections.
Located in Lower Downtown Denver, the challenge was augmented with the projects’ situation in a historic landmark neighborhood, necessitating an adherence and interpretation of the districts’ form-based zoning and design guidelines.
Spilling of the permanent retail, marketplace, and bodegas into the public foyer on level one allow for an intermingling of social and economic exchange.
“User as facilitator” comes to the forefront on level two (the culture house), as the makerspace, workshop/seminar spaces and open program are all flanked by the live-work studios, creating an intertwined and interdependent dialogue. The spaces, rather than operating solely under their spatial prescription, become designated by the individuals themselves.