Creating a Community

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 Architecture Open HouseDesign 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.Kevin Shehab and Chad Hawke

"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.Anna Nguyen and Desiree Velasquez

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.

Projects included:

3rd Street Parking Lot
Raidy Alvarez
Quinton Walczer

1306 East 4th Street
Jason Branton
Matthew Castiglia
Desiree Velasquez
Nicole Sharga

1322 4th Street
Dwayn Tilman
Peter Griffin
Elena Kuzmanouska

1339 E. 4th Street
Dylan Catino
Jack Rogers

Matthew Stoats
Gina Pasqualucci

The Green Pond Conservation Project
Peter Griffin
Joe Coryell

Fifth and Atlantic Streets
Kevin Shehab
Chad Hawke

East 6th Street
Adair Hernandez
Eladio Mora Bucio
Dwayne Tillman

Freemansburg Avenue
Roman Spitzmueller
Peter Syzonenko

Valley View Village
Nick Kern
Andrew Homick

234 Linden Street
Desiree Velasquez
Anna Nguyen

Eastern Gateway
Joseph Ortiz
Anthony Nitella
Dylan Catino

1414 East 4th Street
Matthew Castiglia
Jason Branton

Cottage Housing and Pocket Neighborhood
Elena Kuzmanouska

Northampton Public Library

Natasha Perez
Ayesha Coates
Laura Beers
Sandra Paylus
Chloe Hoyak
Megan Gilly
Anthony Sierra
Codi Januszkiewicz



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