Each year, local high school students from Easton High School, St Michaels Middle High School, and Saints Peter and Paul work with local mentors to create architecture projects through the ACE (Architecture, Construction, Engineering) Program. The students get to pick the project they will take on, and for the 2021 ACE season, the teams from Easton High School and St Michaels Middle High School both chose to design a modern homeless shelter.
Before working on their designs, representatives from each team reached out to staff at Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS). Their aim was to gain insight into how great the needs are in the community, what the local homeless population looks like, and any needs that they might have that aren’t currently being met.
TIS Executive Director Julie Lowe said she and her staff were, “so impressed by the type of questions the students asked. It was obvious that they were putting a lot of thought and care into their projects, and really trying to understand the needs of the people they would be serving.”
At the ACE Awards Ceremony on April 14th, the students had an opportunity to present their projects to the community. Each team took a different approach to the assignment. The students from St Michaels designed a homelike shelter very similar to those that Talbot Interfaith Shelter is currently operating on Goldsborough Street. Their goal was to provide guests comfort and stability, while providing the flexibility to accommodate a frequently-changing population.
The students from Easton took a different tact, imagining a scenario in which both of TIS’ shelters would serve families, and they would complement those services by repurposing a centrally-located commercial space into an expansive facility for homeless individuals. Inventive features included an on-site medical clinic and enough food storage to feed all of the building’s inhabitants for several days in case of emergency.
When asked why his team chose to pursue this particular design theme, Easton High School team leader Luke Adelman explained, “The Homeless Shelter project attracted the team because it was a new kind of building design with opportunities for creative solutions to the unique requirements. Moreover, the project takes on a pertinent problem, especially now during the covid-19 pandemic. We always strive to connect our projects to the local community.”
For her part, Lowe was amazed by the results of the projects. She says, “These students blew us away with their creativity and compassion. We were honored to be a part of sparking these wonderful ideas in young men and women who will go on to be the future of our community. It is a beautiful thing!”
To learn more about Talbot Interfaith Shelter and their innovative S4 Program (Shelter, Stability, Support, Success), visit talbotinterfaithshelter.org or contact Julie Lowe at 410-310-2316 or [email protected].