Advanced Design Studio: Bald/Birmann
The outskirts of Brasilia present a unique problem. Designed by Lucio Costa only 50 years ago, the city center has become a living monument that hampers development by refusing growth. The studio focused on learning from Brasilia’s missed urban opportunities and proposed to design a new urban spine. This project explores how one of the blocks of this refashioned city would function both locally and within the larger proposed master plan.
Influenced by Brasilia’s modernist architecture as well as vernacular building types, this project explores a more connected way of urban living.
The architecture seeks to create a city center teeming with life and energy. The plan is divided by a commercial strip that supports the residential component. In the center of the residential housing is a semi-private courtyard with facilities to accommodate the needs of the residents. The undulating façade and landscape create pockets of privacy to allow for intimate social interactions that foster the culture present in the city. The building is clad in a combinations of rich dark woods contrasting heavily against the stark white of the smooth stucco finish. This treatment reflects local building practices and plays off the large Brazilian pines that are characteristic of the area.
The residential block is composed of series of buildings which function individually but are also linked through a continuous passageway. Each building is composed of townhouses in the lower level and topped by apartments. The block is a unified mass composed of smaller pieces, which act independently while being linked together.
Advanced Design Studio: Williams/Tsien
Influenced by both the porosity and the walls of the vernacular Andean architecture, this building introduces passageways that welcome the public. Elements recalling the traditional balconies of Cusco mediate these passageways and stitch the massing together.
Cusco is a host of many elements that are unique to the culture and location: long and narrow streets, facades masked by colonial elements above Inka stone foundations, courtyards visible only from small openings on the streets that hide within them unexpected spaces, and, more importantly, the flow of movement and activities that animate the city. This delicate balance between the public and private realms inspired me to design a building that blends within the existing, multilayered urban fabric, while evoking the same energy through the articulation of an inner courtyard.
Cusco has been shaped in many ways for over seven centuries; this has led to the historical anthology that is the modern day city. Throughout all this change and evolution, Cusco has very much remained an inviting city that is porous in nature. The city was originally built over the Kancha city blocks and later altered by the colonial interior courtyard typology. Cusco offers the dichotomy of not fully showing the interior of the blocks, but remaining accessible to the public at varying degrees. The proposed scheme builds upon this contrast by collaging various activities within the building and calls for a permeable parti that organizes the occupants’ flow, while welcoming the public and the pedestrians to explore the inner articulated courtyard.
This 2’x2’ window screen prototype is designed to filter light through its organic porous structure. The panel thanks to its sculptural qualities casts shadows that activate the interior space, while the red filters embedded within it refract the light. As part of the assignment it was essential to find the right fabrication method to achieve desired lighting effect. After multiple grasshopper iterations, we chose to 3D print the lens. Due to the fabrication constraints imposed by the Makerbots the screen was divided into 13 smaller panels which were then assembled together. The final structure is a singular piece of a bigger system that could be mass produced and applied to larger surfaces.