Roxbury, South Boston
Fall 2010 M.Arch Year 2 Studio
Instructors: Cristina Parreño, Sheila Kennedy
Building Type: Renovation & Addition to Existing Concrete Tower
Program: Design Incubator
Roxbury is a vibrant community with a rough recent history. During the civil riots of the 70’s, stores on Blue Hill Avenue were looted and eventually burned down, leaving a desolate and abandoned landscape. This landscape of burnt down buildings and trash filled lots discouraged commerce and business development. With the crack epidemic of the 1980’s, Roxbury became one of the most dangerous and least occupied counties in Boston.
Historically however, this particular site was occupied by the Ice industry, which had a powerful influence on the economy of Boston and the commerce of the world. When the invention of the refrigerator made the ice industry obsolete, other industries moved in. Groundwater contamination from the occupation of these other industries resulted in a drop in estate and increase in infectious disease. The purpose of this project is to clean the site through Phytoremedation, the use of plant roots to extract contaminants, and to incorporate public galleries into the icehouse/incubator which reveal the interior and act as a panoptic. Public engagement would encourage future designers to not develop inventions that contaminate the area. The reuse and reactivation of this building unlocks the social and historic potential of an Icehouse.