PEACE PENTAGON – A CALL TO ACTION
Friends of 339 invites architects, designers, artists, engineers and multi-disciplinary teams worldwide to participate in a competition to re-imagine and rebuild the Peace Pentagon, located at 339 Lafayette Street in New York City. This is an opportunity to give a physical form to a name in-use since this building became the center of peace-promoting activism in the 1960’s. We are seeking proposals that will support and expand the work of peace activists on several scales: as a financially and ecologically sustainable building, as a means of engaging with a neighborhood that has a rich history of activism and art, and as part of an influential city that can impact thinking in far away places.
The 339 Building Community originally formed around a shared office in Lower Manhattan, which was re-located to the present site in 1969. The building is owned by the A.J Muste Memorial Institute. Part of the Muste Institute's mission as a non-profit, is to provide low-cost space for a group of affiliated organizations, especially the original owner of the building, the War Resisters League. The 1st floor is currently rented to for-profit retail spaces and the two upper floors provide office space for peace and justice organizations at subsidized rents.
The Peace Pentagon Competition is a project for a living community and has been shaped by its need to balance limited resources, values, and priorities, while developing a vision for the future. One of the difficulties facing the building's owners is understanding the cost of changes in relation to available resources and potential benefits. Certainly, if a minimum repair scheme is the only way for the building to remain a peace and justice center, then this is the best option. But a vision for the future means asking how the building can best meet the needs of its users in a dynamic way. A minimum repair scheme will require a large financial investment, but will not provide many improvements to the specific program of this building
This competition requests the competitors to explore one of two alternatives:
A new building or a renovation of the existing building.
The five storeys Peace Pentagon building has an atrium which daylight goes through floors to save electricity. Atrium, located on second floor, provides natural ventilation with trees and freshness through building.
Building can be seen at distance from several points and by people using Bleecker Station. Building has a transparent glass facade which interacts with public. Citizens and passersby know what’s going on inside building. Facade is a good wall to communicate with world through organisations’ posters. So building associates with neighborhood promote a sense of community and raise public awareness about Peace Pentagon. Through façade spaces get daylight to save electricity.
Basement floor consists of pantry, maintenance and mechanical room. First floor is for retail space for supporting building financially and can be divided into five spaces. Second and third floors provide offices for organizations having daylight coming through atrium and glass facades. Fourth floor consists of a conference room, meeting space and library for tenants and public. The conference room can be used as a cinema room for extra income. Fifth floor is a social center for tenants, public and consists of restaurant, lounge, TV&game room and an exhibition hall having daylight from roof. The green roof has a café, meeting place and gives a chance for organizations and public to relax and enjoy their time in garden peacefully. Solar panel located at roof creates sustainable energy for space and water heating.
Spaces and shared program elements on floors that can be used by citizens, provide income. The organizations and public get together with activities that deepen a sense of internal community.
This concept strengthens the idea of being a symbol and a center of peace activism in NYC where different organizations get together, contact, promote a sense of community with neighborhood and raise public awareness about Peace Pentagon. This concept creates a vision for building’s future and a dynamic solution in a financial, ecological and practical way.
H.Onur Dinmez (november 2009)
H.Onur Dinmez (november 2009)