by Jonathan Moore and Beth Miller
Volunteers of all types dedicate themselves to improving the human condition. Some architects, for instance, donate their time pro bono to groups that could otherwise not afford the design and advocacy services needed to improve their built environments.
One such volunteer is Carlisle Slocomb Bean, AIA, an expert with innovative building restorations. Bean has devoted his time and energy to help Ayize Sabater, CEO of Mentors of Minorities in Education (MOMIE), build a central facility for educational, recreation, and summer enrichment programs in Washington, D.C.
Sabater had originally settled in Washington's Columbia Heights neighborhood with thoughts of becoming a restaurateur, but soon discovered the pressing needs of his neighborhood's youth. Sabater purchased an old rowhouse as the site for his center, but the rowhouse needed major renovations. A nonprofit community service program linked him with Bean.
Bean, a practitioner with the Washington firm WDG Architecture, faced daunting architectural challenges. Transforming an 80-year-old semidetached residential structure into a multipurpose community center would require lots of creativity, both in design and in navigating the perplexities of the city's bureaucracy. Critical adjustments were required for beams, foundations, walls, stairwells, and ceilings.
"Our aim was to create additional space and light while retaining the integrity of the original structure," Bean explained. "Conceptual renovations were laid out on blueprints — similar to a billable project — so Ayize could steer MOMIE's donations for structural upgrades." These blueprints provided Sabater with architectural evidence that his proposal was structurally feasible. >>>
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Children helped design and construct ideas in the garden gallery at Casals Elementary School.
Children and adults develop plans and strategies and work together with archi-treasure as a team.
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