Thesis 2012-2013, Gilberti-Macdonald Studio
Palimpsest: (n) something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.
Gary, Indiana was a “city of the century.” A satellite town of Chicago, Gary became a thriving city of the steel industry. Now, after desegregation, white flight, and the collapse of America’s manufacturing, Gary has become a contemporary ghost town. Now, few investments are entering the city, creating an “urban desert” of closed shops and abandoned buildings. Gary must not become a symbol of industrial collapse. With a rich history that helped frame America’s economy, Gary is a crucial element that must be saved.
At the heart of Gary’s historic center, sits City Methodist Church. Once, both the physical and cultural center of Gary, City Methodist has fallen into a derelict state on the verge of collapse. The abandonment of this church was a catalyst that slowly began Gary’s fall. Rejuvenating City Methodist as the social center of Gary could bring a spark of life back to this decaying town.
Through the creation of a refreshed urban center, with City Methodist at the heart, Gary can be reunited with its history, culture, and community. Instead of destroying what is left of Gary, and investing in new buildings, reusing the beautiful, historic architecture will unite today’s Gary with its thriving past. The shell of City Methodist Church can be rehabilitated and reused as a food market and gastronomy center. This can encourage community, create new jobs, and rekindle pride for Gary. A beautified center can bring jobs and visitors and eventually expand throughout the town.