[UN]RESTRICTED Parallels: A Base Redevelopment Guide

[UN]RESTRICTED Parallels: A Base Redevelopment Guide

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Aug 29, 2012
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(Un)Earthing Tustin team's encounter with local enthusiasm is far from an isolated incident. Ex-base redevelopment presents the kind of mutual benefits communities, designers and cities managing these properties are allowed to discover through the framework of Competition. The hardest part is filling the role of facilitator with an architect aware of the gold in their yard.

At the Venice Biennale, these candidates are being presented in spades. Take a moment perusing our handy "Base Redevelopment Guide" before your big trek to the Palazzo Bembo. (If you're not heading to Venice in the next few months, perhaps the exhibit will come to you...)


Anti-aircraft food cooperative. Designer and recent member of Berlin’s food group Dickes Bee combined the coop’s needs for space with a mapping project of the city’s abandoned buildings–one of which being the half-destroyed five story Humboldthain Flak Tower. The square footage and climatic conditions of this structure match very closely the needs of a seed storage facility.

Gateway ecological park in Baltimore Harbor. The militarized island of Ft. Carroll has never seen major combat and was abandoned in 1920. However it has become the most diverse colony of bird species within 100 miles. The architect team, building off programs developed by the Baltimore-Washington area’s Living Classrooms Foundation, to preserve Ft. Carroll as an avian habitat and oyster colony.


Breaking barriers in Belfast. Northern Ireland has been a locus of religious tensions and, in the 1980’s, the establishment of “Peace Walls” dividing sectors of its largest city. “Alter(your)native Belfast” describes possible interventions with these structures, transforming them into places of mutual respect and recreation, in collaboration with several progressive community organizations.

Guatemalan war archive. In 2005, 80 million documents were found in an abandoned building in Guatemala City that tell the story of an historic period of violence as the largest archive of its kind in Latin America. The design team, members of which had lost family members during this period, are working with the local government and private organizations to realize a Memorial and Digital Archive called Kikotemal’ Rik K’aslem. An inauguration is scheduled for August 23 – a traditional Mayan seed planting.


Libyan prosthetics. Libyan architecture student spent the year studying in Kansas and developing a new vision for Gaddafi’s residential compound in Tripoli. Currently there are no treatment facilities for amputees in Libya. The proposal engages a city traumatized by civil war with a rehabilitation center mixed with markets and parks to encourage recovery of combatants and communities together. Last month the designer returned to Libya, to find a job and make the next steps to realize this project.

Ammunition reassignment. The 1945 explosion at Magazine Hill, a munitions depot and factory in Pretoria, South Africa, scarred the immediate vicinity and underscored the divides of a nation. Instead of building a memorial, Pretoria natives propose establishing a brass foundry, recycling spent ammunition shells. Senior military staff have realized the power of these ambitions and are now making serious considerations of the project.


Strategic mixed-[re]use, Ft. McClellan. In the years following the 1999 BRAC closure, the amenities of Anniston, Alabama, has fallen into an imbalance. The designer proposed augmenting redevelopment efforts based on extensive community analysis and interviews that concluded the community still lacked a physical “center.” The proposal suggests sustainable, pedestrian-oriented interventions within the redevelopment effort.

Pillbox refreshments. Seaside bunkers along a major roadway to Napier, New Zealand, could see easy transformation into tourist and commuter stops. At least, the Napier City Council sees this potential, endorsing the proposal as a “positive foot forward” preserving the country’s war history through its service to the wider community.


West Bank revival. “People Liberated Urban Gaps (PLUG) In Hebron” focuses on revitalizing the built environment of the Old City. Students at Oxford are working with local partners to leverage civilian action and demilitarize abandoned military sites and encourage conservation, rehabilitation and reuse. The community organization Hebron Rehabilitation Committee has offered to support those engaged in project implementation.

Vertical apiaries. Dutch designers aim to establish “pollination bases” within what remain of the 276 lookout towers built around the Netherlands in the 1950’s. The moment in history where radioed warnings could outrun invading aircraft was brief, but the structures now seem perfectly suited for the equipment needed to host bee colonies. An owner of one of the remaining towers has offered it to be the first “B-Tower” built-the tower itself having been purchased for 50 dollars.