Morgan State University students and faculty are responding to the recent closure of the Harlem Park Recreation Center with a new project to create conceptual designs for a new Harlem Park Recreation Center. We provided an introduction to the neighborhood with a walking tour including a stop at the historic Harlem Park Community Baptist Church. Enjoy this post on the project thanks to Fred Scharmen:
Instructors Katherine Melluish and Fred Scharmen are asking their third-year graduate architecture students to reinvent the Community Recreation Center for the 21st century postindustrial city. The studio, conducted at Morgan State University’s School of Architecture and Planning, began by analyzing a broad cross-section of recreation, community, and service centers from around the world. The students worked with diverse definitions of “community” and “recreation” before proposing some design prototypes.
On the ground in Baltimore, the site selected for the studio is Harlem Park, where a set of unique opportunities and challenges in this historic, struggling neighborhood are allowing the students to deal with their designs within the social, economic, and physical context. Eli Pousson from Baltimore Heritage led the class on a walking tour through the neighborhood, introducing us to the intimate scaled, sometimes neglected, but always inspiring mid-block park system. He also introduced us to the residents of Harlem Park, from Master Gardeners, to church pastors, and community organizers. Eli’s discussion of the history of this community really came alive in these talks with the people living and working here.
We look forward to the opportunity to continue to work with Eli and Baltimore Heritage as the studio progresses!