Unity Pavilion, B.Lab Community Based Design

Unity Pavilion for Northridge Cooperative Housing

B Arch Collaborative Project


Naomi Rojas, B.Arch

Shunyi Yang, B.Arch

Dylan Ingle, B.Arch

Rhonuel Domingcil, B.Arch

Fabio Lemos, B.Arch

Corona Xiaohuan Gao, B.Arch

Malak Bellajdel, B.Arch

Kenta Oye, B.Arch

Jacob Delaney, B.Arch

Harikrishna Patel, B.Arch

Daniel Cervantes, B.Arch

Faculty: Sameena Sitabkhan, AIA and Eoanna Harrison, AIA


The UNITY Pavilion
The UNITY Pavilion provides a space for cooking, eating, and storytelling within the NCH Community garden in the Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. It includes a raised deck with a view of the bay, counters, benches and a movable kitchen table for cooking demonstrations.

The Site
Since 2011, the NCH CommUNITY Garden program has been working to provide a safe place for youth and young adults to work cooperatively growing and distributing organic produce free of charge to residents. The garden is located in what is considered a food desert; there is a documented lack of access to healthy food affordable organic produce. In addition to growing and distributing fresh produce, the garden is a safe place where no violence is acceptable and is a sanctuary.

The design and program of the gathering space is inspired by the history of food in the Bayview and Hunters Point neighborhoods. Before WWII, the hills and bays of this area were home to vegetable gardens, a shrimping industry, grazing lands and the meat industry. This rich and varied history of food growing, production and distribution is also bound to the many immigrant communities that have populated and cared for the land and its buildings. The UNITY pavilion and the NCH garden together aim to create a place that will honor and reintroduce this connection to the land.

Community Outreach and Design
The design was derived from several community and youth workshops together with feedback from the NCH garden volunteers. Designed as a series of frames that look out onto the garden and the San Francisco Bay while providing shade, the pavilion provides respite and is a beacon at the top of the garden. With communal seating and a mobile kitchen table, the layout allows for community gatherings and cooking demonstrations.
ConstructionThe construction of the pavilion was measured and tested on full scale prototypes. These models were tested for constructability, structural systems, aesthetics and function. The prototypes enabled a final design that was comfortable, elegant and flexible.

We partnered with a range of non-profits and consultants for this project:
The NCH Garden TeamNorthridge Cooperative HomesCity of San Francisco Community Challenge GrantSF Parks AllianceLiteracy for JusticeShaum Mehra – Construction ConsultantCarl Wilford – Structural ConsultantThe AAU Architecture Shop TeamBUILD Group

B Lab Mission Statement
The design-build project is designed to cultivate a spirit of equity, diversity, and advocacy for the future public practice of the students. It is aimed at enhancing the skills of the students by promoting a transparent and collaborative working environment for the team and the community. Through the program, the students can develop problem-solving skills that facilitate the acquisition of honest and frequent communication. The role of the Unity Pavilion program is adopting a solution-based practice in tackling the problems of food deserts. The Pavilion is built on a people-centered approach and catering to the needs of the people. It is designed to create networks within a community intended for the benefit of the people. The creation of social cohesion and community integration is vital in ensuring social problems such as food deserts to be the initial and starting step to a solution.