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Community Engagement

main seating + view to patio

9,000 SQ FT

Developing a reuse feasibility study and designing a historic building with the understanding of future community development and growth of the environment

This was a semester-long project where I studied the Mill District of Kent, Ohio to create a community driven design.  The history of the area, current tenants, neighborhood context, and regional design initiatives were all considered.

The Problem

The historic Mill District of Kent, Ohio is a cultural hub for the community.  Its proximity to the Cuyahoga River initially attracted Kent's inhabitants, and the architecture along North Water Street reflects the creative and artistic spirit that first occupied it.  Over the years, it lost its liveliness.  My task was to redesign the Mill District in order to spark community engagement.

Initial Explorations + Research

I studied North Water Street as a whole to understand its needs.  I narrowed in on a couple particular buildings, and finally landed on 217 N Water St.

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217 North Water Street, now a law office, first appeared on maps in 1893.  Its construction suggests a Richardson Romanesque Revival style from the 19th century with its large, heavy stone arched windows and corbeling along the roof line.

Ice Cream Bar 2.png
Ice Cream Bar 2.png

Proposed Use

Ice Cream + Bar

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The ice cream bar + event space is welcoming to people of all ages and cultures.  Kent State University students are major users of the space.  The space accommodates users of all abilities and health.  Users looking for a place to hang out with friends, have a delicious treat, or laugh during a comedy show enjoy this environment.  It is a place to get away from the realities of everyday life by entering into a uniquely captivating environment.


Variable Carving

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Inspired by the Cuyahoga River, the natural element Kent was founded on

Lotic ecosystem: constantly moving body of water​

Conceptual Ideas:

-Connections to other ecosystems and cities

-State of continuous change

-Variability in flow rates of water

-Power to erode, transport, deposit

-Carves out land and shapes space

-Moments of still + Areas of movement




Ice Cream Bar 4.png
Ice Cream Bar 4.png
Ice Cream Bar 4.png

Design Development

I leaned into the concept of variable carving inspired by Kent's Cuyahoga River and used it as inspiration in the design development of the new ice cream bar.  Just as the land is carved and shaped by the river, the space is also carved and shaped, creating moments of stillness and areas of movement.

Ice Cream Bar 5.png
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Final Production

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street view

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street view evening

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entry wall

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seating + feature stair

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ice cream bar

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Elevation 2 up.png
kitchen 2.png

custom benching + view to kitchen

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level two viewing

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level two event space

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outdoor patio

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outdoor seating

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Pop-Up Ice Cream Bar

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Next Project

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Vertical Community

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