Current NYCHA campus conditions are a result of decades of disinvestment and isolation from the surrounding urban fabric. NYCHA campuses are the product of the tower in the park development, which created an additional disconnect between the groundplane and tower topography. These conditions have manifested into a dire need for intervention; through design, the Boogie Down, Boxes! program will reintegrate this immense social and economic system back into its surrounding communities, and also reinvent its role in New York City.
Boogie Down, Boxes! creates community-based networks that allow for residents to participate in the procurement, retrofitting, placement, and final programming of locally-sourced shipping containers that are to be deployed in the expansive fabrics of the NYCHA campuses. Creating new ground plane topographies through the use of the containers will support commercial, landscape, housing, and community programs; the graphic identities of these Cubes, and the topographies they create, are to be negotiated by NYCHA and those utilizing them, allowing for site-specificity and a collective sense of agency regarding the aesthetics of a given community’s environment.
Using the Mill Brook Houses of the South Bronx as a prototype, the program is intended to showcase and support the vibrant, idiosyncratic cultures native to the Borough. The adaptability of this network of Cubes has the potential to bring community-based economic growth to each of the NYCHA campuses in New York City, a renewed sense of pride and ownership to each housing development, and ultimately a 21st Century identity for NYCHA.