The Jewel Box

Submitted by WORKSHOP8

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Client: Housing Authority of the City of El Paso

Location: El Paso, Tx, United States

Completion date: 2012

Artwork budget: $955,235

Project Team

Interior Designer

Ulla Lange

WORKSHOP8

Architect

JV DeSousa

WORKSHOP8

Architect

Joseph Vigil

WORKSHOP8

Other

Michelle Frankel

WORKSHOP8

Architect

Ali Gidfar

WORKSHOP8

Overview

The Jewel box is an outdoor room that provides a special gathering space for the residents of this senior affordable housing project atop their community center terrace. The soft forms of the steel frame are highlighted with the use of overlapping sections of cool colored 3form Chroma, evoking grasses as a visual relief to the arid climate of El Paso. The alternating sections of open and colored panel sections, afford views to the dramatic mountain range to the north, while providing privacy.

Goals

Our client, The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, had specific goals for the project that needed to be met. One vital goal of the housing authority was to create world class architecture, a design that was both innovative and iconic to the community. 

The Jewel Box, being as unique as it is, creates a node among the monochromatic landscape, allowing community members to easily distinguish and point out its location. The goal of creating wold class architecture was made possible through the Jewel Box due to its vibrant colors,organic forms, and use of materials. This outdoor room is programmed to be highly used by community members as both a gathering space and place of relaxation, therefore becoming an iconic space among the community.

Process

A key concept throughout the project was the idea of weaving community together. The weave, grass pattern, represents the integration of the landscape to the structure and the structure to the community.

The weave became the core concept for the Jewel Box. Our designers studied fabric materials and how different materials could be woven together to create unique effects. They worked together to create sets of weaving patterns and graphic approaches.

Once the pattern was chosen, the collaboration process continued between the designers, architects, and fabricators to create the unique steel structure and assembly details.