SYSTEM FOR LIVING
Undergraduate work +
profs: sam jacoby, monia de marchi
AA School of Architecture
The house as an architectural form and symbol is the one artifice where private worlds and public domains converge. Like all architecture, the house is expressive of a larger cultural realm, yet there is a persistent and changing dialogue between the personal preferences and tastes of the different inhabitants and architectural convention.
Lower-density suburban family housing has become exponentially popular in the past few decades but unsustainable socially, economically and environmentally. Higher-density urban units are more sustainable but tend not to meet the needs of a growing family. This perplexity becomes the actuation that finds the equilibrium between the detached and the terraced style housing typology via a morphing of the two. The enigma in translating a suburban ideology into an urban context becomes the focus in terms of density and integration with current infrastructure. Through our investigations of a “vertical suburbia” the postulation becomes taking the plan of a paradigmatic suburban context and exploiting it in section form.
Develop a housing solution answering growing questions of modern living needs. The initial 10 weeks will be spent in teams of three investigating themes and developing a common manifesto. Students will then create solo solutions based upon the manifesto developed.
All work under “Manifesto” is in collaboration with Thomas Jensen and Jungok Joo.
After investigating the natural gradient of traditional English housing typologies as they naturally occur from inner to outer London, we began to analyze three primary units in play: the terraced, the semi-detached and the detached house. We began to look at ways in making their use of space more efficient through ideas of verticality. Looking at current work of the New York Highline, and previous thoughts from Yona Friedman, we played with ideas of occupying the air space above London.
We developed a matrix of rule sets for how different geometries can fit within the natural curvatures of streetscapes. The idea was taking shape of creating a way where various housing typologies could be integrated directly within the diverse current infrastructure of central London. Dividing curvatures up into land lots, we could distinguish which parcels of curvature was better geometrically equipped for the three housing typologies we were interested in.
The Elephant & Castle area was chosen as a test bed for the idea of creating a housing complex that occupies the space over streetscapes. To understand the possibilities of relocating pedestrian circulation, an investigation of necessary points of pedestrian activity was performed. This revealed potential site areas where current pedestrian activity was dormant. The test bed was chosen for lack of pedestrian activity and for having multiple curve types, which could exhibit how the housing typologies react.
Breaking off into individual projects, I investigated more ideologies associated with outer London living lifestyles and how they can be brought into density. One common desire for the suburban dweller is the view of “green” outside of their dwelling. This is brought into play by using the units themselves as opportunities for cladding with “green.”
I began to look into the response of placing private units of housing directly within the public sphere. Windows of housing units must be directed towards each other to avoid public view into private dwellings. Wall surfaces are then maximized through geometry to create more surfaces for dwellings to look onto each other. This creates more view of “green.”
Understanding that directing views internally creates issues of privacy between dwellings, a playfulness of the window orientation begins. Geometries are generated to once again create maximum surface availability for the “green” while blocking views of adjacent neighbors. Variations of view are then reflected from the typology of housing being used. Detached housing has the most privacy and green, detached housing has less, and terraced housing even less.
Taking into account the new parameters of solo developments, the original matrix is revisited and revised. It now gives transparency to which housing typologies can be used within different curvatures of the city’s structure. Curvatures between these degree units will become a morphology of the three primary typologies.
Housing units are now looked at individually in greater detail. Each of the three primary units is given the similar characteristics as found in their natural habitat while maintaining the parameters previously set fourth. Research done at the beginning of the semester becomes the program for the typologies.
The detached house is given maximum privacy, green space allocation, and opportunity for geometric uniqueness. The garage and house entrances are kept separate from other units.
The semi-detached house is given less distinguishing characteristics and less access to privacy. It shares it’s garage and house entrances with a neighboring unit. It shares a wall with its paired unit in multiple locations allowing for possible sound transmissions.
The terrace house is stripped further of its self-identity as individual units become part of a series. Privacy is reduced and view is now directed into the public sphere. Garden spaces, entrances and walls must be shared between neighbors. Privacy is replaced by efficiency.
The individual units are now experimented within the defined test bed to generate possible results of expectancies and the project’s interaction with the city.