Re-Imagining the Barth House: Phase II Inviting the School of Architecture to Dream with the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee

A Case Study in Partnering for Innovation

What happens when you invite architecture students to imagine what Episcopal Campus Ministry in the 21st Century might look like?

Background: In the fall of 2015, the Re-Imagining Barth House Committee went through a twelve-week process of building relationships with the staff, students, and faculty of the University of Memphis and residents of the University Corridor. The goal was to discern what the needs of the University of Memphis Community are and how the Episcopal Church could respond to those needs, specifically with the piece of property located at 409 Patterson Avenue called the Barth House. The committee found that there was a need for music performance space for small concerts for under fifty people, a place to gather and meet to share meals and conversation, food nutrition education, access to healthy local and affordable food, and a place to prepare food. The committee presented their findings in a concept paper: Re-Imagining the Barth House: Phase I.

Project Focus: In the Spring of 2016, Committee member and Professor of Architecture, Jim Williamson and his colleague, Professor Michael Chismore, invited twelve students to take the concept paper and imagine how a renovation of 409 Patterson Avenue could make the Barth House a center for wellness centered on nutrition education, music programs, and common gathering space.

Project Goals:

  1. Design a multipurpose space for meals, music performances, lectures, and church services with a capacity of 75 people.
  2. Create a common space for people to gather for conversation or study.
  3. Design a teaching kitchen for nutrition education classes and for students with dietary or religious food restrictions to prepare and store meals.
  4. Create three office spaces for potential nonprofit partners.
  5. Add a one bedroom studio apartment.

Student Designs

Students were given no limits in meeting the design needs of the project. They were allowed to alter the existing structure.
One Student uniquely blended the Common Area and the Teaching Kitchen in order to create a designated office area.
Bold graphics and impactful words are the concept behind the design of The Community Table and Dining Hall. To help bring awareness to the campus community of its presence, inspirational words are displayed in and around the building to act as a beacon of wellness and food education, to make students feel welcome and inspired. - Holly Tedder, Student Architect
By partnering with Students to design a Wellness Center, The Diocese hopes to build Equity with the Student Body.
A Teaching Kitchen to offer classes on Nutrition Education for the Community is at the heart of every design.
Creating office space is a part of the Business plan to offset the cost of maintaining the Facility.

What's Next?

To see if the Re-Imagining of Campus Ministry in the Diocese of West Tennessee is a viable option, the diocese needs to develop:

1. A business plan to understand the intended economic impact of developing and maintaining a center for wellness and the arts.

2. Prepare construction documents and cost estimates in preparation of a feasibility study.

We hope at the very least, you are inspired by the possibility of inviting students to dream about what Episcopal Campus ministry can become. We encourage your comments, thoughts, suggestions, and dreams.

Created By
John Burruss
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