Designed and constructed by students in an academic design/build program, 39571 InfoWash is a direct response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in the small town of DeLisle, Mississippi. In an attempt to meet both the physical and emotional needs of the community, the project houses both a 24-hour Laundromat and an organization which provides rebuilding assistance to local residents. The simple task of washing one’s clothes thus provides immediate relief while easing community members into the long and complicated process of reconstruction. Because of its program and context, 39571 InfoWash has a responsibility to provide a physically and psychologically sheltered realm, while at the same time projecting an open and inviting presence to its community. Composed of two volumes connected by a covered breezeway, the southern side of the building is sheltered by a deep overhanging roof, while a translucent polycarbonate northern wall provides ample daylight to interior spaces and allows the building to glow at night. A panelized wood slat screen attached to aluminum straps wraps both the opaque and translucent walls tying together the program elements while adding a degree of warmth and familiarity to the expression of the facades. Western Red Cedar was chosen as the primary exterior material because of its resistance to insects, its workability, and its natural weathering characteristics.
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