Tag: Screens

Project

NYC Green and Grey

Situated on the West Side Highway in New York City, this mixed-use development challenges the existing sociopolitical hierarchies of the built environment by suggesting a new building typology that reallocates privileged vertical space reserved for the elite, to the general public.

This allows for diverse social connections and programmatic adjacencies which aim to enhance the livelihood and lifestyle of the residents, the surrounding community, and the city at large. These adjacencies mix constituencies and create intersections that might not otherwise occur, fostering social and economic development. The distance between the elite and the general public is collapsed, allowing for diverse interactions in new environments.

New York is a vibrant, diverse city characterized by financial prosperity, but soaring housing costs have priced out many of its residents. Low-income inhabitants of the city’s public housing face particular hardships: their population has grown, poverty has worsened, and social isolation has grown more pronounced while their physical environments have changed little due to a reduction in public housing funds. This has created a situation of economic and social isolation; “the poor in New York have become a self-perpetuating parallel city.” In an attempt to alleviate these conditions, the New York City Housing Authority pursues the economic integration of public housing projects into their communities as a means of fostering social stability and increased incomes.

This immense problem is of particular interest to this proposal because the site is located a block east from a public housing project. The design aims, therefore, to provide amenities which might enhance the social and economic development of its inhabitants: a tower of parks anchors the housing block, connecting private housing and public programming (civic and cultural) while maintaining secure boundaries. 

These public parks create opportunities for diverse connections between constituencies, programs, and environments which typically do not occur.

Living in the high-energy, dense urban environment of Manhattan can be grueling, both physically and mentally, over time. Therefore, many city residents often retreat from the city on weekends to second homes that are located in more natural settings. This is a luxury not everyone can afford, but suggests the necessity of an environment which allows inhabitants to escape from rigors of the city. The site’s location on the Highline in Chelsea enhances the opportunity for the project to establish a new relationship to nature.

The design proposes a mixture of program layered in a manner which responds to the scale of the city, neighborhood, and block: Its robust, contemporary street façade provides a strong urban presence in the city while neutralizing climatic variances; this facade gives way to a traditional courtyard façade which allows the dynamic play of sun and wind to act naturally on the housing units.

These two environments provide inhabitants the ability to retreat from the tough urban landscape of New York City each time they enter the block. The living units are designed to provide natural ventilation and flexibly accommodate live work situations and future renovations.

Project

DC Public School

LEARNING FROM REALITY TV

This thesis formulates design methods for creating strong relations between the school and public spaces. Download the complete research publication: Rethinking the Contemporary Urban School.

This is a critical notion in an age where students increasingly depend on digital devices that allow them to avoid conflict and confrontation in the physical urban environment, while their desire to be seen and validated by ‘others’ through mediated connections increases. The significance of the public institution as a center for information exchange and civic engagement has diminished in favor of new media, which has become a staple at home and is trending increasingly mobile.

While the potential of digital media to proliferate information, construct knowledge, and connect diverse publics is tremendouse, we must still critically conisder its technologies and how they are deployed in contemporary society. The internet allows for diverse information flows and creates opportunities to gather information that is otherwise difficult to obtain. Digital applications, however, leverage user profiles and patterns to help individuals navigate towards similar types of information, which can have the effect of narrowing the field of interest and desire.

While the influence of the civic institution in society, especially the pubic library, has diminished, the school remains a crucial site for the development and maturation of personal and collective identity; although, in the United States, in many instances its design is still based on the agrarian values from which it originated.

Connecting the school to public space creates an opportunity to empower students to take ownership and provide a voice to that space, effectively connecting them to a large collective where they can watch the consequences of that voice physically unfold.

The MacArthur Foundation’s report Living and Learning with New Media: The Digital Youth Project finds that new media allows young people to develop skills for jobs and careers in a way that teachers cannot, suggesting that teachers should not necessarily focus on developing skills, but guiding youth’s participation in public life more generally, which includes social, recreational, and civic engagement. Schools must become interdiscipllinary not only in their curricula, but also in how they engage the community at large. Therefore, the secondary school might be rethought as a new civic insitution which connects to the public more broadly, directs civic engagement, and links the potential public sphere of digital networks to physical space.

Design proposal for a contemporary urban school: student controlled dynamic facade which serves as a voice for the community:

This prototype design for a contemporary urban high school is located on H-Street in Washington DC and attempt to integrate the school with both it local community and the world beyond.

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