This thesis proposal investigates methods in which resilience can be attained within a deprived peripheral neighborhood of Medellin, Colombia through the analysis of waste stream systems, housing, labor and education. By engaging and repurposing the recently dismantled Biblioteca España of Santo Domingo Savio in Medellin, the proposal targets a reactivation of the community through a careful analysis of site, demographics and waste stream systems in search of an optimal sensible response. 

The objective is to ultimately produce a facility that illustrates the potentials of recycling while also empowering the community and addressing their most present needs. The ambition of this investigation is the establishment of a living building which fabricates composite plastic modular blocks that can be utilized for housing purposes and in so, providing the community with enhanced housing, local labor, and vocational education. The development of this new housing module seeks to provide for a community with deficiencies in education and labor, through the necessary vocational training required for the improvement of long-term living conditions. A lasting influence will be obtained by addressing the needs of the people.

Throughout this exploration, a shift in paradigm is pursued. Younger generations of the region can be positively impacted by the input and output process of the facility. Thus, resulting in an improved notion of the potentials of waste materials, construction, labor and education. The end goal is that through the constant influx of plastics entering and exiting the facility, in combination with an individual’s first-hand experience, one hopes that this experiential form of education will create a growing appreciation for sustainability and activate this paradigm shift. Ultimately, this proposal is designed to promote human dignity through the empowerment and engagement of a marginalized community. It is designed to encourage, nurture and cultivate the basic self-actualization components in their individual lives.

Site: Santo Domingo Savio, Medellin, Colombia

Thesis Advisor: Emmanuel Pratt | University of Michigan



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