by Katherine Noll
April 25, 2013
Students took the knowledge they learned in Northampton Community College's architecture and design programs and applied it to a real-world project as part of the capstone class Community Design Studio. Their plans for the South Side Bethlehem neighborhood known as the Eastern Gateway were unveiled on April 24 at an open house.
"This is the highlight of a program that really captures community service at its essence," Dr. Jeff Focht, vice president of academic affairs, told the crowd who had gathered in an empty space above a storefront on East 4th Street. The space was loaned by the Alliance for Building Communities, Inc., who have recently restored the building.
"It is a tremendous amount of work our students have poured out this entire semester," said Ken Trionfo, associate professor of architecture. "We're so proud of the work that you have done. I know your parents are fully aware of the sleep you lost to get this done. These models take hundreds of hours to make."
Instead of a large parking lot on 3rd street, students Raidy Alvarez and Quinton Walczer envision a green common space where the community could gather. The parking lot, used by a church, would move underground.
Inspired by the past, students Matthew Stoats and Gina Pasqualucci strip the façade of a church to reveal its original design: a theatre built in the federal style.
"This project is a lot different than what we normally do," Kevin Shehab said of the redesign of Fifth and Atlantic Streets he worked on with Chad Hawke. "We usually design one building, but for this we had the opportunity to design an entire neighborhood."
An area of East 6th Street could become a new neighborhood designed by Adair Hernandez, Eladio Mora Bucio and Dwayne Tillman, who imagine small bungalows for elderly residents as well as a pocket neighborhood.
Anna Nguyen and Desiree Velasquez shared their vision of a new 2349 Linden Street. "I would have so much pride and joy if our idea was actually used," Nguyen said.
Projects outside of the Eastern Gateway were also on display. Students Peter Griffin and Joe Coryell designed a housing community for Green Pond Road which would address flooding concerns as well as create an idyllic space for residents, including a co-op garden, coffee house, and outdoor theatre. Other students turned their attention to the remodeling of the Northampton Area Public Library, complete with new, sleek furniture and an updated children's library.
The students spent the evening answering visitors' questions about their designs.
"I'm going home to eat and then to bed," Desiree Velasquez confessed with a smile. "It will be the best night's sleep I've had in a while!"
View more photos of the students and their work on Flickr.
3rd Street Parking Lot
1306 East 4th Street
1322 4th Street
1339 E. 4th Street
The Green Pond Conservation Project
Fifth and Atlantic Streets
East 6th Street
Eladio Mora Bucio
Valley View Village
234 Linden Street
1414 East 4th Street
Cottage Housing and Pocket Neighborhood
Northampton Public Library
To review Northampton Community College's guidelines for public comments, click here