February 26, 2009

February 24, 2009

February 22, 2009

GSD 1202: Early Diagrams

Early diagrams showing programmatic analysis.
Photos show massing strategy for the podium across a single large block. Podium accommodates a dense mix of commercial, cultural, infrastructural and residential program.

GSD 1202: Atlantic Yards, Brooklyn

GSD 1202: Project Brief

(from project brief)

The project will be developed on the 8 acres over the Vanderbilt Rail Yards, in Brooklyn, NY. It is a contested area that has gone through different Master Plans and Community Proposals.

Part one: Protoblocks
During this part of the semester students will focus on the development of a protoblock, for which they will design and articulate parameters for growth and expansion into larger formations. The protoblock will be embedded with urban intelligence and will be constantly evaluated according to its environmental performance.

This exercise will focus on the development of iterations of volumes that are capable of hosting the program defined for the protoblock. These volumes should occupy no larger than 1 acre. The volumes will focus on the speculation on the distribution of program (with the typological implications that this could have) and the urban effect that the resulting volumes are capable of producing: alignments, corners, continuities, transparencies, shadows, view obstructions and so on. This exercise focuses on the urban potential that certain volumetric distribution strategies may have. The design of the volume should include the definition of the ground and its potential use as infrastructure, landscape or open space to support social activity. The student will choose the area of the site to test the volumes and will develop urban prototypes with which to work (block, tower, tower-block,etc.)

Program Protoblock
Footprint: 1 acre. 44,000 sqf (4046.85 sqm)

187500 sqf housing
11875 sqf cultural and community service
Possible programs:
Public Library
Senior Citizen Center
High School
Elementary and Middle School
28750 sqf retail commerce
38125 sqf office space
10750 sqf recreation and leisure
37500 sqf infrastructure
FAR: 7.1

GSD 1202: Cities, New Ecologies

GSD1202 : 4th Semester Core Studio

Coordinator Lluis Ortega
Prof Florian Idenburg

(introductory text from studio brief)

There is a long history of proposals and reflections on the city and the environment. Since Vitruvius there have been attempts to construct relationships between the City, Society and Nature. Whether we are considering the aesthetic history of the architectural Sublime, techno-futurist visions for utopian cities, the hygienics of orthodox Modernism, or the ideals of garden cities and the proliferation of suburban sprawl; architecture’s preoccupation with its relationship to the environment and the role it has to play in the interpretation or construction of Nature has taken many shapes. So what is the contribution that we could make today to the history of that discussion? Can we resume some of the unresolved questions of previous proposals? How do we frame our own speculations on Nature?

After a drift in disciplinary attention and energy from the city towards technology, we currently have an opportunity to revisit the discussion of urban form equipped with a new set of tools and a new conceptual framework. By new tools we refer to emergent capacities in production and analysis enabled by digital technologies, and by new conceptual framework we mean the reorganization of the architectural or urban problem through the lens of regulatory systems that has been made available by scientific developments in the second half of the 20th century. Using feedback from all and any relevant inputs and processes, particularly in this case the particularities of environmental analysis and simulation, we will search for new and optimized manifestations of the sustainable city.

Cities will be the medium with which to address effectively the pressing environmental problems of our time, and we will be exploring urban scenarios of high density. If dense, hyper-technical utopias were environmental responses emblematic of the enthusiasm over industrialization in developing countries, fatigue with urban disorder and density ultimately spawned critiques of the nineteenth century city. From that critique one counter model, the Garden Cities of Howard (1898), appeared and became incredibly powerful and influential because of its capacity to contribute to a cultural imaginary of nature, despite how it was ultimately distorted and realized in contemporary suburbia. Currently there is a resurgence in the imagination of utopian interventions at aggressive scales and high densities as a response to looming environmental catastrophe, but we are yet to see the true performative viability of proposals of this type, what their contribution to larger narratives about architecture and nature might be or how effective they will prove at capturing public imagination. Our current task is to articulate a new aesthetic and cultural understanding of nature in response to current social and environmental problems and to critically re-imagine cities to address the current and future needs of a sustainable society.

February 11, 2009

GSD 1201: Plug-and-Play Harvard House

The Plug-and-Play Harvard House
GSD 3rd Semester Core Studio
Fall 2008

The Plug-and-Play Harvard House is a new model for academic housing that addresses the expanding role of networked digital culture in higher education. As classes, seminars and research are coordinated and attended virtually, the residence is increasingly becoming the locus for educational activities.

A new model must support these unconventional academic activities while recognizing and embracing the resulting blurred boundaries between living, learning and play.

Rather than building a rigid set of spatial resources, the residence must become a flexible infrastructure that allows for rapid adaptation to spontaneous academic and non-academic events, often driven by students themselves.

An ecology of prefabricated mobile interactive components encourage spontaneous social interaction while reinforcing group collaboration and negotiation skills as essential to personal, professional and academic growth.

Earlier in the development of this project, I was interviewed by the Harvard Crimson about new academic housing at Harvard. Read this article here .

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