AFHny STUDIO was created in 2009 to promote architectural and environmental design-driven social change in New York and abroad by empowering design activists with the tools of collaboration and open forum. Founded and lead by the volunteers of Architecture For Humanity New York, the STUDIO developed from the belief that lives can be improved through thoughtfully designed spaces, and adhered to the organization’s mission of providing design services to communities in need. The studio was coordinated by Valeria Bianco and Shagun Singh.
A number of community driven projects were discussed and worked upon, the biggest amongst them being ARTfarm which revitalized a step street in Bronx.
ARTfarm is a community based urban art project and derives inspiration from the Bronx Museum and the local farmers market. The site for the project is the Step Street on 180 E 165th Street between Grand Concourse and Sheridan Avenue in Bronx. The area surrounding these steps was weeded and rundown. The site has multiple levels which allowed us to transform this space into an interactive urban space for the local community. A farmers market is held every few days close to the site which gave us the idea of creating a green community space. The site is also close to the Bronx Museum which gave us the reason to make this space not only communal and green but artistically inclined. Our proposal included planters of varied sizes, shapes, colors and materials with perennials that last the season and longer. We worked with found objects like cabinet doors and elliptical tubing materials to create these planters.
The Partnerships and Community
The planters created out of waste cabinet doors were sourced and put together at ReBuilders Source, a retail warehouse for surplus and salvaged building materials recovered from construction and demolition jobs.
With the help of the Bronx Museum, we participated in their family affair day where the children from the community painted planters. We encouraged the ownership of this space by asking neighboring households, bodegas, etc to adopt a planter in the site and look after its upkeep.
The installation sported a mix of community, culture and art and was installed for a duration for 11 months from Sept 2010 to Sept 2011.