Creating New Identities
Balikbayan boxes were sent from the United States by my family back to the Philippines filled with goods and the idea of the American dream. These boxes are a manifestation of “coming home” of the Filipino diaspora
and the actualization of my dreams.
“Wayfinding” is a place that guides immigrants to achieve their American dreams by forging their still evolving identities in the US. The center creates a platform for immigrants where they can get support in the formal immigration process and other areas of acculturation including language,
culture, and employment while establishing relationships and connections in the local community of San Francisco.
Through the use of a patchwork of spaces throughout the building, the immigration process of assembling a new way of life is reflected. The language of layered transparency across the spatial patchwork provides personal and visual connections between spaces. Curved planes generate
intimate spaces carved out from the layers of programs while embracing and leading users as they meander through the building.
*Balikbayan box is a carton shipped to the Philippines from another country by a Filipino who has been living overseas, typically containing items such as food, clothing, toys, and household products.
Text by Juke Jose
Building Community through Shared Pain
“I am designing a building that would not only give a sense of belonging to individuals that have experienced pain but also to those who have had injustice done to them.”
In researching the history of the African American population in the Fillmore District, I found there to be similarities to my life. During the Redevelopment period in the Fillmore, African Americans, who had created a thriving community, were forced to move to the East Bay or to entirely new cities. I grew up in a small country called Rwanda whose people suffered from a genocide in 1994 that took the lives of a million people. Rwandans had to re-orient themselves to the world after a disorienting loss. My generation came of age during this period and saw people struggle to heal but yet create a new community based on shared pain. Years later, after graduating from high school, I had the chance to move to the United States for university. I left a country where I was a part of this communal pain and learned to become an ‘international’ student in a country where I had to find new commonalities with those with a different history.