Freelab, 2022
Team —
Hope Blooms: Jessie Jollymore, Kolade Boboye, Taylor Macdonald, Raphaelle Willems, Natasha Jollymore, Makye Clayton, Veronica Gutierrez
Dalhousie School of Architecture: Susan Fitzgerald, Sam Arsenault, Garry Bishop, Becky Brown, Janson Chan, Emma Gagnon, Ben Johnston, Sarah London, Jamie McCullock, Tai NguyenHa, Chris Suh, Cody Gaulton
FBM: Susan Fitzgerald, Stavros Kondeas, Rin Milos, Jacob Ragetli, Amber Kilborn, Alejandro Adriazola, Julie Leung
Special thanks to all the youth from Hope Blooms and the community who shared their stories and lent their creativity.

Description —
Hope Blooms engages with youth to become change agents within their North End community in Halifax. It operates as a social enterprise hub to improve food security, educate, foster social inclusion, and disrupt poverty. Located adjacent to an abandoned school this once derelict part of the city now serves as a productive and public park that generates approximately 4000 pounds of fresh produce every year. While the garden has expanded to include improved infrastructure for cooking and growing, it lacks seating, market stalls, a performance space, and specific elements to tell Hope Blooms’ story. The three proposed designs that emerged support Hope Blooms’ vital role in this community while enhancing this shared public space in this part of the city.
Hope Blooms inspires long-term generational impact for a predominantly BIPOC part of the city. Youth join their programs at age five and graduate when they are 18 years old. On graduating, they receive annual academic scholarships from the social enterprise endeavors. These entrepreneurial ventures include salad dressing production, a weekly farmers market, and musical performances, among other things. The youth, in turn, support younger children in the program. This ongoing cycle sustains the mentorship.
This collaboration started with a reconsideration of the typical design process. Partnering with Hope Blooms and a group of students from the local architecture school, the designers saw an opportunity to investigate the site, the community, and to tease out design opportunities with the client. Over a two-week period, community youth, architecture students, urban farmers, and designers explored what a participatory process can mean, in sessions called Design Discussions. A central goal was to exchange skills, knowledge, and experiences among everyone involved. Rather than letting program and budget lead the process, these projects were developed by studying context and having conversations about Hope Blooms’ specific needs and history. The Design Discussions were held at both the site and the university – breaking down barriers between the academy, the profession of architecture, and those who carry specific knowledge and insights about the culture and the needs of a place.
The research and design period involved students spending time at the garden and walking around the neighborhood to map the context and observe the lived experiences of the North End. The projects that emerged were: mobile market stalls, a stage for outdoor activities, and a meeting space in the garden.
The market stalls are unitized, self-contained, and easily moved. A feature of the stalls is their flexibility and potential for expressing the unique character and identity of each vendor.
The stage is located in an under-utilized portion of the site where the topography slopes towards the buildings creating a natural amphitheater and a platform for creative expression.
The meeting space is located in between the original garden at Hope Blooms and the newly expanded garden. The design is an inhabited art piece which tells the story of those who have contributed to Hope Blooms while serving as a place for rest and conversation.
Back to Top