Architecture Students Create Wiser and Safer Design

Streetwise team in front of their prize-winning poster.

Marissa Hayden and Autumn Bender are working to make the world safer for children.

Perhaps architecture is not the first field you think of when you wonder how they do this, but the infrastructure of our world is vitally important to safety and security of all ages. “During non-school hours, 1 in 5 NYC children are left unattended due to undesirable living conditions or guardians’ long working hours.”

Where can kids go in-between school and home? This was the question that Marissa and Autumn looked to answer through not only research and design but also a consideration of education, economics, and sociology.

render of the Streetwise building.

They focused in particular on the neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, and conceived of a program entitled “Streetwise,” a mixed use co-operative building and system. It is a place children in the area can go to find recreational or educational programs, seek company of others or just feel safely alone in the company of peers and adults. “Educators of all kinds are incentivized to live and teach [in the building] utilizing underminded skills and giving back to the community.”

Considering so many important factors, they ultimately proposed a welcoming and open structure – a common-place for all – and won a joint first-place at the senior studio competition.