Face Down: Community gathering on the supermarket roof

Rethinking the program of the community center, Face Down is a design for public space through architectural means that is neither cynical nor nostalgic.
A community center building, no matter how inviting, serves a particular segment of the population. The façade becomes the means of engaging the broader public. Face Down takes the community center’s façade - the public face of the building’s program - and inserts it into a mundane architectural experience, the supermarket.
In this diverse Somerville neighborhood, the local supermarket is one of the few places that attract young professionals and families, older workers and retired people, recent immigrants, and university students alike. This proposal gathers a collection of community programs on the roof of one such supermarket and appropriates the existing ceiling as a horizontal façade that reveals the new public space to the shoppers below.
Face Down proposes that any local supermarket (without disrupting its original function) can become a place for all residents to meet, play, garden, study, and establish a stronger connection to their neighbors and their neighborhood.

Face Down was recently honored at the Women in Design symposium at BuildBoston 2009.

rooftop community center
Aerial view: rooftop community center

Neighborhoods by Grocery Stores
Map of Somerville: Neighborhoods by Grocery Stores


Initial diagram 


Rooftop plan 


Section A 


Section B 


Exploded axonometric 


View from southern entrance 


Interior greenhouse view 


View from grocery store interior 


View form grocery store interior