Social Sustenance: Nurturing Change


Social Sustenance: Nurturing Change



The site’s direct connection to S. Grand Blvd. and the existing building are the fabric on which program, design and intent were concentrated. The building presented for adaptive reuse was originally the South Buick Auto Center, a structure capable of vehicle occupation on each floor, including the roof. The elevated rate of youth crime and the lack of activity space in the community brought about an idea for an alternative to re-incarceration, low employment rates and low educational and economic mobility for those individuals convicted of crimes between the ages of 17-25. Social Sustenance proposes a food truck incubator catered to previously incarcerated youths, at risk youth as well as those interested in creating, owning or working in the food industry. This program provides support to a variety of areas and allows for increased economic mobility, connection to the other parts of the city and the creation of an anchor for the immediate neighborhoods. The residential component of the project engages the educational component through the exterior space, while maintaining an individual and private existence and identity itself. Units are either market rate, low-income or refugee housing for either transitional living or long-term integration into the community. The structural system of the residential buildings, vertical concrete shear walls, creates a rigid and dimensional system within which a more flexible plan for the units can be optimized. This allows for a malleable organization prepared to shift from low-income to market rate, or convert a three-bedroom into a four bedroom through minimum change. The main purpose for this flexibility however, is the uncertainty of the size requirements and family dynamics of future refugees. The number of refugees received by the International Institute of St. Louis fluctuates year by year based on cultural, regional and global issues, resulting in a fluctuating need for apartment sizes, quantities and types. Formally, both rigid systems of the adapted building and the residential component are softened and connected with the groundscape and interior walls.

Publication Date

Fall 2016

Subject Categories

Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning

Rights Statement

© 2016 Daniel Aguilera


Graduate student work from an architecture studio led by Catalina Freixas (Fall 2016) to envision a new use for the former International Institute of St. Louis (IISTL) site,

Social Sustenance: Nurturing Change