The Life Center in Needham, MA seeks to create a more vibrant downtown – shopping, eating, art, and theatre. The site is situated on what is now Greene’s Field Park. This park has defined the boundary of the Urban and Suburban since its inception by the Greene’s’ in 1989. The Greene’s’ set this green space aside for the pleasure of the community. The Life Center seeks to enhance this idea of giving back to the community, while reinvigorating the urban fabric and sustaining green open spaces for the community.
Through my site analysis I looked at parking, commuter rail, public transit, and other means of circulation. I took the ratio of facility size to usage, and derived a simulation that would flow toward the site avoiding the current buildings. This simulation showed a hierarchy of site entry that I would use to orient the building, and to massage the buildings form to accommodate its surroundings.
The South portion of the site was to extend the urban street wall, and open its facade toward the West. The Northern portion of the building was a primary circulation route, so it was important to show the users where to enter the building. While taking the Baker House, into consideration, a dormitory designed by Alvar Aalto, just as the Baker House used the stairs extruded from the surface to point toward the entrance of the building. I utilized the forms skin to formally pronounce the buildings entry. When one enters the building they are in a open transitory space, both visually and sometimes physically. Adjacent to this glass box are two larger programmatic spaces, one to the North, and one to the South. The North program contains, Art, Music, Dining, and a Green roof – for farming and relaxing. The South program contains, lobby, classrooms, library, computer room, and an exercise room. Open green spaces are situated adjacent to the glass box on the Eastern side of the site, acting as a transition between a large urban building and the Suburban fabric.