Each year, students at Baltimore’s Morgan State University upcycle discarded wooden pallets into an innovative installation for the city’s Artspace celebration. This year’s project, the Roadhouse, was inspired by Blues musicians. The students used Corona pallets shipped from Mexico to create a public plaza and music venue for Baltimore locals to enjoy.
The Morgan State students of the Architecture and Environmental Design program were lead by the School of Architecture and Planning’s Michael Zebrowski. Taking cues from musicians such as John Lee Hooker, Leadbelly, Howlin Wolf and Robert Johnson, the students designed Roadhouse, an outdoor music venue to enjoy Blues music.
Disused pallets from local Frank’s Pallets, The Loading Dock, and National Lumber were transformed into a network of pallet columns and archways. The stacked columns became the anchor points for the entire Roadhouse structure, representing the characters and musicians the students were inspired by. The pallet arches and bridges run like ribbons throughout, connecting the columns and representing the rich stories that each musician tells with their soulful Blues compositions.
With two sizes of pallets, reclaimed plywood, found signs and letters, Roadhouse was constructed over a period of two weeks. Located in the Station North community of Baltimore, the streetscape and bandstand provided a shaded resting place for festival goers, as well as a venue for the rotating entertainment programmed for the festival.