RISD Shifting Baselines Option Studio
Instructor: Robert Mohr
The West Warwick Wastewater Treatment Plant serves as an indispensable infrastructure protecting the public health of the community. Yet all of its service is ironically shielded from view by tangent river, highway, bike trails in a covert of inaccessible wetland pockets.
The project is an embodiment of a larger design utopian vision for green urbanism: reorienting traditionally inaccessible public service infrastructure to establish an interactive central public space that utilizes self-sustaining systems, supports urban agriculture and community bonding.
The design transforms the current linear and centralized treatment flow for a new cyclical paradigm of waste- energy- agriculture. By slowly transitioning and dissolving the energy intensive, highly mechanical process into a natural wetland landscape, the treatment plant serves to decentralize and disperse its former treatment volume through modular planting units to participant’s local neighborhoods.
“Transportation & Agriculture” are layered onto the existing infrastructure creating an engaging landscape, provoking an understanding of our roles as part of a resource regenerative cycle.
1) Transportation Hub reorients the site as a public center through a highway connection with existing tangential transport routes, activating social flow of surrounding commercial and educational properties.
2) Urban Agriculture
connects wetlands, feeds on bio-waste, and harvests local produce for a natural waste treatment method. Walkways mirrors the underground flow streams linking programs, joining existing creating various flood-mitigating typologies. Through this urban hub, the project encourages an active lifestyle and rejuvenates the former site as a shared resource and recreation commons.