John Stewardson Memorial Compeition
Novo Commons envisions the library of the future as a library of the people, a communal space for shared and socially equitable community growth. Located at the heart of the Pennsylvania Wilds in Renovo, the first prototyped Novo Commons strives to address the needs of a historically neglected region. The town of Renovo has seen a declining population over the past several decades. 35% of the town’s population currently lives below the federal poverty line. This trend is not unique to Renovo; the number of people living in poverty is on the rise nationally, having doubled from 7.2 million in 2000 to 13.8 million in 2013. Novo Commons is a prototypical system, which strives to be the catalyst for increased social and economic mobility through education, training, and community engagement. With the objective of creating a space that addresses the needs of a historically neglected region, four key goals are identified to scale the size of the solution to the size of the problem: growing knowledge, revitalizing jobs, inciting collaboration, and fostering community. Each one of these four areas of focus becomes a part of the whole and are manifested into the learn, create, share, and grow modules. The common modules are intended to be replicable and scalable to allow for a proliferation across the Rust Belt. Each module can be replicated individually as per the needs of specific communities. The Novo Commons becomes a tool for social and economic growth by educating and providing job skills training to individuals in the community. This process can lead to living wage job opportunities in advanced manufacturing and assist in defining the Rust Belt as the heart of advanced manufacturing nationally. In order to accommodate for rapid and accessible replication, the building utilizes a Flat Pack Prefabricated Timber Structural System that is predicated on a Design for Deconstruction model allowing for a more flexible and scalable lifespan. The system is completely exposed and aims to make building construction more accessible to the public. Through this economic strategy, social emphasis, and rapid construction system, the Novo Commons aims to replicable across the country and promote equality and prosperity.