Park Merced Social Space
ARH 512 Participatory Design is part of an experimental design build sequence focused on creating public space that builds community, and fosters equity. It involves a real client, and a built project that requires tenacity, creativity, and dedication to the collaborative process.
The spring 2022 project is sited within Park Merced, a development built by the Met Life Company in 1941 that contains 2500 apartments alongside parks and courts. Working with the client, Maximus Partners and residents in a participatory process, students spent the semester researching and designing a new gathering space for public events within an empty courtyard that was once a laundry drying yard. The final schemes were presented as “modern social spaces” and ranged from sculpted mounds to pavilions inspired by the laundry drying infrastructure to a meandering bench with conversation pits. All the schemes were designed around the client’s creative brief and aimed to encourage social interaction in different ways.