“Five Points & Afrofuturism
Streete and her class have a second exhibit in the lobby of the History Colorado Center, which illustrates the NOMAS studio’s work on Five Points. “Five points on Five Points,” Streete said, explaining how the students organized their work in five stages: local history, precedent studies, site analysis, building collective, and reimagined future. “It was known as the Harlem of the West,” Streete said. “The Rossonian Hotel was the only buildings that would allow Black musicians to stay and play—Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday.”
Amaro, a Denver native, wasn’t aware of the neighborhood’s history until she took Streete’s class. “We all have this narrative in our heads about what a community looks like,” she said. “She didn’t just change the narrative. She shared a deeper, more complex story about the Five Points community.
Streete gave her students two locations in Five Points that they had to reimagine as community spaces—without tearing down any existing structures. “When we design, the approach is not just always to get rid of everything,” she said. “We can find innovative solutions to integrate what may be on the site already.”
They also had to design an artifact of no more than five inches cubed that distilled their building plans into a meaningful object. “It has to do with understanding what a building is about … taking away the technical parts to help the student understand its concept and not really the boundaries that it is being held inside of,” Gutierrez said. It’s interesting to note that many of the artifacts feature sharp angles and intersecting planes.””
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CU Denver News // City Stories 22 July 2021.