The MLK Day of Service at Payette is dedicated to offering design services to communities in need. This year, Northern Berkshire Community Coalition (nbCC), an organization committed to promoting dialogue about community issues and offering recovery peer support to diverse groups of all ages and backgrounds, sent a proposal for landscape development in North Adams.
This once in a lifetime opportunity will enable the coalition to build a footprint and continue to provide the opportunities for support, growth and community that the region relies so heavily on. The effort of finding a building that the coalition could purchase and develop into a permanent home had entered into an intensive 8-month feasibility and planning phase focused on a specific building located at 192 State Street in North Adams. This building consists of 3 floors and a full basement equating to 18,000 square feet of space. The current completely gutted condition of the building offers the luxury of a blank slate, and also the challenge that comes along with renovating such a large building.
As nbCC moved through the due diligence process, they also studied how the full campus that the building resides on, including the land located behind the building, could become an impressive asset. Currently this space is comprised of some rock gardens and overgrown bushes, but with its direct proximity to large parking lots, flat geography, and easy access points, it offers some very interesting potential to extend the reach of this redevelopment project even further.
The proposal included creating a visual aid for nbCC as the coalition begins to cultivate key donors and grant applications to fund the redevelopment of the building and grounds. This ground redevelopment includes: a bike collective space, green space, outdoor classroom, shaded space, and a flexible outdoor space that feels like an extension of the building.
This proposal required a site visit with some of the nbCC partners to better understand the context of the landscape development. We gathered an initial site response documenting the properties of the building, existing landscape and surrounding areas including the slopes, existing fences and vegetation, and views and sight lines.
Pavilion / Multipurpose Space
Payette put together a series of visuals exploring how the site could respond to multiple needs and programs, reflecting nbCC’s design goals. Inspired by the existing building’s wood beam structure, the proposed pavilion captures and brings it to the exterior space. The pavilion is multipurpose space, acting as a hub for social activities such as movie night, public lectures, children’s activities and outdoor dining.
This axonometric drawing highlights how the pavilion structure mimics the existing structure of the main building. New site features such as paths, benches and a greenhouse are proposed to help fulfill the nbCC’s goals.
Having a space to host the local bike collective was a key component of the program and one of the driving factors in the site’s development. The bike collective required access to the basement storage area and preferred to have access from the main public lot and rear public parking lot. Some permeable paving was proposed on the site as a place to have some hardscaping to not only work on bike tune-ups, but also traverse the site more easily.
This view captures the approach to the site and access to the bike collective from the main parking lot at the northern side of the building. The background of the image hints at the lush landscape of the Savoy Mountain State Forest that visitors can expect to enjoy.
A garden and meandering path is proposed near the existing tree grove. This area includes some edible landscaping, raised planters and a community greenhouse. The winding path is designed to accommodate the existing sloped area of the site while remaining an accessible route to the rear of the building.
This view introduces the meandering path directly from the street and connects access toward the site from the southern edge.
We were fortunate to have our community partners work with us on the Day of Service as a collaborative effort in producing these materials. Next steps include campaign and fundraising efforts to help bring the vision to fruition.
Northern Berkshire Community Coalition