Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How my thesis led me to designing a church

By: Daniel Roman

            From the beginning of my graduate design concept I was not sure what I wanted to design, all I knew is that I wanted to provide a community something they could take and give them the hope that their community can be better. I am sure every architecture student can relate to this conversation, “yes I am an architecture major” “oh nice, so what type of architect, like what do you want to build” “ummmmmm, buildings?” Architecture students are at all time designing many different type of buildings. So when a design thesis comes up and the openness to be able to design anything, it is a bit overwhelming.
            That being said, I started looking at what town I could look into and be the site to host my design. Cobden IL, it is an interesting site that may lend itself to many ideas. Cobden is a small town located in southern Illinois, with a population of just over 1,300. What makes Cobden an interesting site is the rich culture that its populations has, the majority of the population are migrants from Mexico who have come to establish a better life for them  and their families. Cobden has an area of approximately 1.3 sq. miles. In the entire town there are no actual street lights. A relative small site, but going back to Maslow and his theory it should lend itself to great potential. Cobden has seen some growth thru out the years, even if it may not be exponentially but it is happening. Using architectural elements to further develop the town to enhance itself for more people to arrive and be able to live in the town.

            Cobden then was taken a broken down to set the Maslow’s Hierchy of needs. The Maslow’s pyramid has 5 main areas, Physiological, Safety, Love/ Belonging, Esteem, and Self- Actualization. After investigation, and research, it was established that Cobden met the physiological needs for it has open land from which people could grow their own crops. Safety wise it also has a lot of housing, and in comparison to the rest of Illinois it is relatively inexpensive. But what cobden is missing, Love and Belonging. The Hispanic population took about 1/3 of the population and the need of these two cultures to come together, this is where a church comes into play. A church provides shelter, at times food thru soup kitchens, they provide spiritual help that brings people together. In specific the church would be a catholic church owed by the Hispanic population. All the churches in the southern Illinois are owed by an American population and then are lent to a Hispanic pastor to host mass usually once a week. A new church will provided a sense of ownership, from which the idea of love and belonging will improve. People having their own church will bring a huge spike in self-esteem. 

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