Pawtucket, a small town in Rhode Island is where this
project is situated. Today, the town center feels abandoned.
Stone fledged civic buildings tell us this town once held
significance. The converted warehouses along the river make us believe that in
recent years someone tried to revitalize the town to its pervious glory.
The site of the project is situated along the river’s edge.
This particular spot has cycled through hundreds of years of substance to
different groups of people. The river, at one point contained a bounty of fish
and was used as both a summer home and river crossing point for the Narraganset
Pushed out by industry, in 1793 Pawtucket became the start
of the American textile industry by creating the first water powered mill,
Slater Mills. But as a foreshadowing of the past, this industry eventually was
left abandoned. Pushed out by labor and material costs, all that was left was
the empty warehouse factory buildings, river dams and polluted water.
Today, Slater Mills sits still in time as a historical
museum. It tells the story of a certain time in history, but leaves out the
part it played in damaging both the past and future.
Across the water is the site for this project. On small
strip of land the building is a mirrored image of its ghosted past.
This new building, is a new extension of the museum. The two
are in conversation with one another. Slater Mills glorifies its industrial
revolution past, while the new building reinserts the remaining, untold history
of the site and looks into the future of industry, capital, environment.
The building is empty of all but a modern day industrial
loom. Running on an annual schedule, the loom weaves for almost an entire year-
throughout that year the fabric that is produces becomes the building. Held by
a roofing super structure a set of tracks and rods house the curtain walls.
They divide the building creating new rooms, spaces and experiences. Eventually
the building is no longer empty, but completely full of the fabric.
After a year, the building is released, the fabric, is withdrawn
and taken to a new home to have a second life. The process begins again.