Residents At Work
The Wilmore Neighborhood in Charlotte was named after the Wilson and Moore families who owned farms prior to developer F. C. Abbott’s 1914 plan to create a residential neighborhood. Residents who called this community home supported the activities of industrial businesses in South End, including: Atherton Mill, Mecklenburg Flour Mill, Charlotte Trouser Co. and Charlotte Pipe and Foundary. Historians have called this sector of town the city’s first industrial park, and its rise as a production corridor that featured mostly local business owners with regional reach. Today, however, the forces of economic development near Center City are driving demographic change, resulting in rampant real estate speculation with the associative ill-effects of gentrification and homogenization in Wilmore.
In response, R.A.W. proposes a residential-industrial urban community re-inscribing the legacy of Charlotte’s Wilmore neighborhood while introducing flexible economics that permit families to lease backyard rooms in support of envisioning a small-scale affordable “alley urbanism.” This model also enables business owners the option to lease their elevated dwelling space, above the live/work commons terrace, as part of a larger, inclusive “maker network” corridor along Mint Street.
The northern corner of the project supports retail commons, a local produce market, and other public activities. This area is shaded by a hovering solar and evaporative cooling parasol that alters the micro-climate of the site. The project’s organizing platform is comprised of a post-tension concrete podium similar to today’s apartment construction but subverted as a semi-public urban agricultural surface.