Connecticut Post (Sunday)

The Shot Tower as a melding of the past and future

- By Olivia Kascak

Formerly home to a 1.5 millionsqu­are-foot arms manufactur­ing plant, the Remington Arms site in Brideport has stood vacant since 1988, reminding its spectators of the economic struggles of a city that was once home to the American dream. While remnants of this dream can still be found scattered around, the City of Bridgeport and more importantl­y, its residents, are much deserving of a reputation reboot. The former Remington Arms site is the perfect place to start.

In 2016, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. conducted a structural assessment of the shot tower. In 2018, buildings 345 & 724 were assessed by Fuss & O’Neill Inc. Through these assessment­s, it can be concluded that despite isolated structural damage, these buildings have potential for redevelopm­ent.

From New York’s High Line to Charlotte’s Camp North end, cities across the country are transformi­ng abandoned industrial buildings into vibrant entertainm­ent hubs. The Remington Arms site has the potential to put Bridgeport back on the map. With this in mind, I have created a proposal to transform the site into a zero-waste, mixed-use developmen­t that will bring new life to a long-deserted location.

The neighborho­od, centered around Remington’s Restaurant, could showcase true local sustainabi­lity through its daily functions as well as the implementa­tion of the Living Building Challenge. By honoring the past, embracing the present and creating the future, Remington’s would bring forth economic developmen­t and improved quality of life for decades to come.

A straight shot from the entrance of the lobby would sit a history museum focused on the story of Remington Arms and showcasing notable historical features throughout the renovated building. The lobby would lead into a hallway framed by two glass partitions — the community classroom on one side and the restaurant’s courtyard on the other. This section of the building would symoblize embracing the present by investing in the current needs of the community. According to the Neighborho­od Revitaliza­tion Zone’s East Side Strategic Plan, “There is a real need to establish programs and to reinforce school curricula to help East Side students prepare themselves sufficient­ly for careers that will sustain them in future years.” The community classroom provides a space to do exactly that.

At the end of the hallway, visitors would enter Remington’s Restaurant, designed to function as a zerowaste establishm­ent. That is to say: “All discarded materials are designed to become resources for other use” (Zero Waste Internatio­nal Alliance). Food grown on-site, digitized bills and on-site compost all play a role in accomplish­ing a zero-waste status. This approach helps to ensure a healthy and prosperous future for the community through access to and education on locally sourced and nutritious foods. A greenhouse and outdoor garden supply the restaurant with fresh produce. A marketplac­e also sells produce grown on-site as well as products from local farmers.

As a continuati­on of creating the future; what was previously the shot tower now houses leaseable offices and studios, bringing opportunit­y for small businesses to grow and flourish in Bridgeport.

The entire site would be designed within the parameters of the Living Building Challenge. The LBC consist of seven petals that target various aspects of sustainabi­lity. Focusing mainly on the materials while also touching on place, the intentiona­l use of the Living Building Challenge would ensure the sustainabi­lity of the site for future generation­s to come.

Olivia Kascak is a 2020 graduate of the University of Bridgeport. She went on to serve an AmeriCorps term with Austin Habitat for Humanity. Visit @kascakdesi­gns on Instagram to view the full Remington’s Restaurant proposal.

 ?? Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticu­t Media ?? The Remington Arms Shot Tower in 2020.
Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticu­t Media The Remington Arms Shot Tower in 2020.

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