The neighborhood (East Allegheny, Troy Hill) is made up of individual families with unique stories that are confined to separated private homes and spaces. A historic figure in the neighborhood, the brick shell, presents an opportunity to re-introduce the residents to the public realm. Additionally, a hostel is defined by its shared space and amenities; it is organized around its public realm. What is shared within the hostel is shared with the neighborhood. A hostel visitor is immersed in the sphere of the neighborhood and may learn whatever the community allows.
The nature of the brick shell is private and secluded; the mass of the brick as well as the size of the wall facing the major intersection conveys an exclusive sense. By segmenting and displacing the walls of the shell, space is made for the public realm. The shared spaces are located on the first floor with the primary spaces organized around the removed wall. Materials show removal of walls and start to suggest relationships between spaces.
Space between, adjacent, around is a new “realm” that is simultaneously new and unfamiliar as well as connected to history.
The grid is, in part, derived from elements within the shell and used as a device to shift the segmented portions of the shell away from its origin. As independent walls, they have new relationships with the community externally while are also used to organize space internally.