A decorative concrete makeover for Nashville's Rocketown youth community center kicked off Nov. 15. More than 85 people, including architects, interior designers, landscape architects, artisans and students from the Concrete Industry Management (CIM) Program at Middle Tennessee State University and other schools came to the day-long session. They envisioned and designed decorative concrete walls, floors, seating, counters and more for the 33,000-square-foot facility, which occupies a former industrial building.
Organized by the 2011 Concrete Decor Show & Spring Training, the design session was dubbed a "charette " - an architectural tradition in which designers join together in an all-out effort to craft a plan for beautifying a site. In addition to design professionals, attendees included numerous manufacturers who are donating materials to the effort.
In a highly collegial atmosphere, the participants spent the morning learning about Rocketown's youth-oriented mission, being briefed on applicable decorative concrete technologies and assessing the site. Rocketown includes an indoor skate park, skate shop, coffee bar, music performance venue, music recording studio and dance studio/flex room, as well as spaces for offices, auto repair and bike repair classes, and transitional living for teens.
After lunchtime presentations by artisans Steven Ochs and Rick Lobdell, the designers got to the main order of business. Individually and in self-formed groups, they developed ideas for every part of the facility, considering such problems as how to lead foot traffic through the large space and how to keep the space low-maintenance. They shared their conclusions and voted on which were best.
The makeover project was a central element of the 2011 Concrete Decor Show. Selected designs were installed during the show in Nashville, March 15-18, 2011, in a series of hands-on workshops led by top decorative concrete artists.