In the Fall of 2003, the Center’s director, requested the help of the School of Architecture in designing a storage system to aid in organizing donations; however, as a result of several visits to the site–a city block full of sprawled and disconnected structures–the students and faculty observed a terrible contradiction: while the Center’s mission is “Giving People Back Their God-Given Dignity,” the physical environment and facilities were depressing, coarse, and spiritually degrading. After an initial master plan the students immediate began building small installations which eventually led to several large scale projects.
A barren alleyway was once the only connection between four halfway houses and the job training and rehabilitation center which serves the residents. Our students first created small installations (altars / alters) – inspired by the success stories and testimonials of residents who had graduated from the rehab program. These installations grace the walls of a meditative garden called the Signposts of Grace. Residents now can stop, rest and reflect upon the struggles and victories of their lives. The city selected the project as one of only a handful to fund as a pocket park. The total cost was approximately $8000 and was completed sprint 2005.