new family room
design concept for an open, family friendly, health suite in Brownsville, NY.


Dwight, 19, is the father of Nasir and the boyfriend of Naquela, Nasir’s mother. He is an artist and is also looking for a job. He hopes to secure a staff position at Barclays Center, to support his new family.

As it stands, there is no space for Dwight and Naquela in this community to begin building the core foundation of their family. Naquela continues to stay with her parents, who disapprove of Dwight and his relationship with their daughter. He is not welcome in that home. Their protective parental barrier denies him access to his own child. There is also a significant social barrier between him and his peer group. From the first mention of pregnancy, there begins a discourse of general disbelief. That’s not your child. There is an inference that she has been sleeping around. He is the first to have gotten a girl pregnant and his friends have instilled doubt regarding his paternal role, to protect the friend group. Because they are teenagers, they do not have the financial mobility to have their own space.

A safe and pre-existing space, Betsy Head Park, is where Dwight and Naquela can meet like anyone else in an open and public space. The New Family Room will be a philosophical extension of the park. A transference of and an elaboration upon the park’s welcoming qualities. The reasons they go to the park will be embodied and furthered in the proposed health suite.

The park provides a measure of anonymity and relative privacy. It is both private and public. He is in private, away from the judgment of his peer group and her parents, as well as in public, openly expressing his choice to be involved as the father. Like the park, the suite will be open, easily accessible, non-clinical, and non-authoritarian. It will exist in close proximity to public transit and will have convenient hours, to accommodate their work and school schedules. The New Family Room will provide the space for them to forge an early familial core.

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