#PROPOSITION: 240 Winthrop Ave
February 2, 2017
JACK LIPSON (YSOA M.Arch I 2018)
JONATHAN MOLLOY (YSOA M.Arch I 2018)
SAM ZEIF (YSOA M.Arch I 2018)
“Yeah, it used to be a nursing home…my mom was staying there until it closed down eighteen years ago. I’m surprised Yale hasn’t bought it up already.”
Just a few houses down the street from the 2015 and 2016 Building Project sites, surrounded by yards, houses, and a chain-link fence, lays a forgotten medical building with boarded windows and graffitied walls. While few noticed it, the three of us looked perplexedly at it each day we arrived at site. Upon discovering its sprawling hashtag shape, we looked even more. It represented a longing for that conspicuous absence in the Building Project process: real engagement with place and community. While the Building Project was incredible in its opportunity for design and construction experience, it fundamentally lacked rigorous research into a site, attention to physical and cultural context, and agency as an active contributor to social change.
In revisiting a dormant 240 Winthrop, we intend to reinvigorate the process by which we as architects intervene, not simply through design, but through proposition. The project is two-fold: a prototype of process, universal in its ambitions, and a proposal for the site, finely tuned to the West River neighborhood. We are equal parts archaeologist and architect; holding ourselves responsible not for inventing an infallible object, but for uncovering the most fruitful use(s) and the spatial and financial logics that will enable their realization.