Alejandro Cuevas

 

Alejandro Cuevas

Biography
Alejandro Cuevas is a senior who is pursuing the Bachelor of Science in Architecture as well as a minor in music and Italian. He came to Pittsburgh from Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, which is a small town near Harrisburg, PA. As Alejandro furthered his education, he was made increasingly aware of the importance of community and how strong communities can positively change society. Alejandro therefore aims to design spaces that utilize sustainability to promote communal growth, strength, and unity. He looks fondly to examples of communal space and communal engagement within his own hometown, and he will utilize the knowledge he’s gathered not only from studying architecture but also from his studies in music and Italian to further guide his strategy for communal placemaking.  

Abstract
Nexus is a community-focused design that looks to the variety of communal groups within the context of the Regent Square neighborhood. In Regent Square, there are multiple buildings types that house communal groups; there are churches, schools, restaurants, stores, a government building, and a vast number of residential buildings. Each building, especially buildings that are not residential, has a high probability of housing a unique communal group, and most of these groups can be broken down into smaller subgroups. For example, a church may be divided into men’s bible study groups, women’s bible study groups, and youth groups. There is clearly an immense complexity to Regent Square, however there are few places where you might see these communal groups mingling. The key design question then becomes: How do I maximize community growth, strength, and unity in Regent Square with my project? 

In this case, the conclusion is to design a series of spaces that lend themselves to gathering and diversity. To achieve this, the Nexus community center is designed such that two adjacent sloped structures rise out of the group past each other—consider the “x” in Nexus as the design’s parti diagram. From this form, Nexus is able to create a series of diverse gathering spaces that can draw a variety of communal groups to the site. The dynamic cantilevers create outdoor occupiable space not only below but also above—the roof is accessible as a series of stepped occupiable spaces as well. The many outdoor spaces are further specialized by sensory variance. With respect to Sight, you may look out over the neighborhood or spectate a tennis match from the top of a cantilever, or you may watch the school drama club perform a play on the stage under the southern cantilever. With respect to Smell, you can the scent of spring and summer flowers from multiple planters around the site, or you may smell their decay in fall. With touch, you may experience the heat from the sun from the roof or the coolness of shadow under a cantilever. These sensory variations, along with many others, will be diverse to meet the needs of different community groups and will be engaging to the point of drawing them in. 

Nexus is therefore a place of communal cultivation. It celebrates and promotes diversity and challenges the people of Regent Square to unify under one banner. 

You can view the complete HAAARCH!!! 2021 program at HAA news.

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  • HAAARCH!!! 2021