Our process involves the Development, Design and Community components.  Without each of these integral pieces, wouldn’t be able to take its full potential.

From the point of early manifestation, the team defined that the project would need to be flexible and take on a phased approach in regards to its development.  This approach would allow for small initial investments to make things happen.  As the local needs expand, critical mass increases and funds are made more available, each can grow accordingly.

In concurrence to the phased approach, there is a process from the early realization of communal need to the utilization of to the post analysis and assessment to ensure the each is adapting and operating to its full potential.

You have an Open Space

Within urban metropolitan areas, there are inherently vacant lots of land distributed throughout.  The existence of these lots are due to varying factors and the severity of the situation differs from city to city.   aims to make positive use of the vacant lots through a temporal medium.  As the city grows and changes, are able to relocate or adapt as needed.

Urban Site Benefits

  • Activates abandoned, blighted, inexpressive spaces through art and social interaction.
  • Urban beautification through litter removal, landscaping and property improvements.
  • Forms a network of creativity hubs.

We Have A Box

The design team had defined the following criteria essential for  to be successful in achieving its mission:

Essential Design Criteria

  • Aesthetically pleasing and receptive to the community.
  • Sustainable and self sufficient.
  • Accommodating of the varying programmatic needs.

The following are the major design innovations incorporated into the project:

Design Innovations

  • Modularity
  • Mobility – The project will have minimal site impact.
  • Secured environment – Including openings and entry ways
  • Light weight construction
  • Local cost effective materials – Starting with the reuse a recycled container as the main structure and exterior skin.
  • Flexible multi-use spaces (indoor and outdoor)
  • Environmentally responsible design and structure.

Together we can make a difference

The along with the ‘Open Walls’ program can provide benefits to the Community such as:

Community Benefits

  • Urban beautification
  • Building healthy community relationships
  • Offers diverse programming, flexible uses to address community needs.
  • Innovative architecture and design
  • Pilot for other applications: humanitarian applications
  • Location for educational and activity for the youth. It can respond to DC’s recent Summer Youth Program funding cuts.

Josef A. Fuentes was born and raised in New York City, and graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in May 2004 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. Upon graduation, Josef moved to Washington, DC where he helped found the DC Chapter of Architecture for Humanity (AfHdc) in 2005. Through AfHdc, Josef and his colleagues create and implement programs to promote socially responsible design.

Josef balances his local, national and international involvement in AfH with full-time architectural work at RTKL Associates in their Healthcare Studio. RTKL is a full-service global design firm involved in a variety of disciplines — including academic, commercial, healthcare, residential, public/civic, engineering and sustainability projects.

Recognized for his leadership and dedication within AfH and the profession, Josef was selected as the American Institute of Architects “Emerging Architect of the Year” in 2009 and the DC Council of Engineering and Architectural Society’s “Young Architect of the Year” in 2010. Josef has registered as a licensed architect in 2010 and is LEED AP BD+C since 2006. His vision, professionalism and collaborative spirit have helped AfHdc become one of the DC area’s emerging leaders in design advocacy for humanitarian causes.

During his collegiate experience at RPI, Josef participated in the Rome Study Abroad program, providing him with a greater appreciation for the boundless and diverse nature of the world. Josef’s multi-faceted travel adventures also include several countries in Europe, as well as Peru, Columbia, Nigeria and Rwanda. Josef is an avid soccer enthusiast, and enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and various other recreational activities, as well as photography.