Tactical Preservation for Climate Emergency
- Hillary Morales Robles
- Weitzman School of Design (PennDesign)
“Tactical Preservation for Climate Emergency: Sustainable Adaptive Reuse of Early 20th Century Public Schools in Puerto Rico” is Hilary Morales Robles’s ongoing research and design project that involves the rehabilitation of vacant early 20th-century public schools in her homeland, Puerto Rico. The project investigates the capacity and adaptability of these schools’ typology to develop sustainable alternative spaces for emergency protection. The urgency to provide alternative spaces for protection against natural disasters in island territories has become ever more pressing in the face of the world’s ongoing climate change as well as the deteriorating political and economic distress in the Caribbean. Importantly, the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the existing older fabric promotes communities’ ability to have self-determination, autonomy, and self-revitalization. Hilary’s goal is to open the forum to expand the concepts of sustainability and design values in preservation for hazard mitigation, maintaining affordable stock, and preserving local cultural heritage. With this grant, Hilary will pursue documenting one of the historic vacant public schools in Puerto Rico, the Washington Irving Graded School located in the municipality of Adjuntas, and ultimately to develop a feasible, fitting, and attractive proposal and for the rehabilitation of historic public schools. The final product will be a set of drawings and renderings of the new proposal, a design manual or toolkit for disaster preparedness and recovery, and short videos documenting all the processes, research, and partners involved.