engaged practices studio
cornell university | fall 2021|4 months
instructors: tao dufour + suzanne lettieri
in collaboration with lily jantarachota
The axis of our site connects the waterfront to the edge of the Buffalo Ave. neighbourhood. The old Adams Power Plant is located at the midpoint, representative of the industrial history of Niagara Falls: how cheap power drew many factories to the area, resulting in detrimental ecological effects. The Niagara River corridor is home to over 1200 species of birds, fish, mammals, and plants. Wetlands along this corridor are essential for feeding, nesting and spawning. These particularly vulnerable habitats have suffered from decades of chemical dumpings.
The neighbourhood at the top of the site has the highest concentration of single-parent homes in Niagara Falls, with half of the children living below the poverty line. Our intervention aims to connect the residents of this neighbourhood to the waterfront, while also creating an environment of intergenerational care and education.
The bike path starts at the neighbourhood and continues above the existing railway to our main site of intervention. The programs of the buildings aim to encompass a well-rounded developmental environment for young children, including spaces for music, arts and crafts, reading, gardening, and playing. The bike path then continues down the site, bridging above the road and through the existing transformer house, which is turned into an immersive garden. It continues down to the waterfront, where the canal has been re-extended towards the old power plant. This man-made inlet is rehabilitated into a wetland habitat. The bike path finally bridges over the existing highway and lands at the edge of the Adams slip waterfront.
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