Aggregation with a Landscape
Terraplén translates to mean, embankment, possibly earthwork, or terrace. The winery and hotel act as a natural continuation of the landscape built up and held by these walls of rammed earth, which course through the site. They are the ramparts for this road; for this path that takes a guest on a journey to the high point of the site. By using the physical substance that is not only close to the site, but is the site, the building visually expresses the project’s deep connection to the beauty that is the Riojan terroir whilst being a zero-carbon, sustainable gesture.
To make these walls, the winery is buried deep within the cool, damp earth, and it leaves the hotel to become the mediator of the omnipresent heat and natural light that is characteristic of Rioja. The winery is condensed, compacted, efficient, and hidden away, while the hotel spills out into the landscape, puncturing the rammed earth walls reaching toward the light. As a guest enters into each programmatic element belonging to the hotel, he/she moves from a space within the walls, through the walls, and then into the light. The effervescent light illuminates the hotel; it carves its way into the walls, as it warms the walls, and subsequently warms the spaces on cooler nights and winter days.
Lastly, the site gives us wind. With the given topography, the wind is strongest at the ridge, rising up along the landscape from the east creating a specific microclimate. The building orients itself south to north with a thin plan, allowing the possibility for cross ventilation when appropriate and needed, while protecting the exterior public space surrounding the pool on the west from strong winds. And as the hotel bleeds outward into the landscape, a subterranean network of earth tubes also reach out, drawing fresh air into the winery while naturally conditioning the wind to create the needed environment for wine making. The winery exhausts itself via the structural columns that break through the surface; reminiscent of vernacular techniques and alluding back to the line that pervades the Riojan landscape.
For this project, we decided that assuming the scenario of sea level rise, Coney Island as we know it is going to “die” if we do nothing. That by the year 2080, much of it will be partially or completely under water. The question we were interested in investigating was, would Coney Island be able to salvage its identity during the coming years as the island slowly disappears? We proposed a compact form of development that maintains the key aspects of Coney Island’s identity while sacrificing other parts of the city to the rising sea levels.
As a method of analysis, we chose to study the city through the lens of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, and acceptance. With each stage, we have identified key elements of the island that are both problematic and integral to its survival.
Currently the city is comprised of a depressed commercial spine, a concentrated area of amusements, segregated zoning and building types, and voids within its built fabric. By taking advantage of these existing voids, we proposed to fortify the commercial spine, create a network of amusement parks, and redistribute existing and new building types across the island. We focused our study on Mermaid Avenue, proposing interventions over time that were specific to the existing conditions and their projected development in response to sea level rise.