Pockets, Carpets, and Spine
Nomination, H.I. Feldman Prize
The objective of this project is to turn Real de Palmas, a low-income workers housing settlement of 60,000 inhabitants near Monterrey, from an agglomeration of houses into a self-sufficient city. Different scales of interventions respond to problems ranging from underused backyards, lack of public amenities and civic programs, nonexistent employment opportunities and need for more housing. The urban strategy takes advantage of the existing structure while allowing for organic growth.
Rezoning the central Spine of Real de Palmas lends program and function to the road system. Enlarging sidewalks and introducing bike lanes prioritizes pedestrians on the currently underused road. Building extensions to houses and introducing commercial activity along the Spine yield new work space for the inhabitants.
The Carpets work on the scale of the neighborhoods and connect existing green areas to offer a place for community activities. Comprised of unified paving material, urban furniture or planting, and covered recreational areas, the Carpets are designed to provide a sense of identity for each neighborhood.
The Backyards recall the ‘Vecindad’ housing type and convert underused backyards into shared spaces. This intervention is a more efficient use of space and creates new relations between the neighbors. In some house types, sideways extensions take advantage of the five-foot gap between the buildings and provide an additional bedroom.
Pockets, anchored around existing civic buildings, break the relentless grid of houses and introduce recreational, cultural, and civic programs. The Educational Pocket provides desired programs in the development – a trade school and a library connected through shaded outdoor spaces. The Market Pocket is inspired by two common, existing market types in Mexico: formal and permanent structures of mercados and informal, temporary tanguis.
History of Landscape Architecture
This chart captures the evolution of the relationship between voids in the landscape, such as sunken gardens and pools, and voids in the building volume, such as peristyle gardens, atriums, and courtyards through four projects ranging from Roman Antiquity through Italian Renaissance to an early 20th Century Arts and Crafts building.
The illustrations show the increasing autonomy of landscape voids as they move out from the building volume, emphasizing the connection between building and landscape. There is a progression from Pompeian introverted buildings, where the peristyle garden is surrounded by the building, to a Renaissance Villa, where sunken gardens are released from the building while still maintaining an inward focus, to a complete detachment of sunken gardens and pools (that echo the building’s form) in a 20th Century mansion, extending defined, architectural space into the landscape.
The relationships of landscape voids and building voids are analyzed in four different categories. A Figure-ground drawing shows the building and landscape elements and their relationship to each other. The Void drawing shows the relative position of the two types of voids (superimposed or detached). A Circulation diagram shows the entry sequence of each building and what type of motion the landscape voids imply (linear or circumferential). Finally, the Axes diagram shows the main axes along which both types of voids are laid out and shows what kind of visual connection the voids allow for.
Advanced Design Studio: Sanders
Nomination, H.I. Feldman Prize
Responding to the Finnish artist community’s critique of the Guggenheim as an elitist institution, this project extends the program of the museum with education to both make it relevant to the local community, and bridge the gap between art and the everyday.
Instead of using the Guggenheim brand to create monumentality and iconicity that is disconnected from the Finnish cultural heritage and risks reducing Helsinki to a one liner, this project ties into the low, courtyard-filled urban fabric of the city. The pavilions and courtyards respond both to the islands and plazas that define Helsinki’s urbanism and the graceful non-monumentality of the city.
The striated landscape connects the market and the ferry terminal, and responds to the two different sides of the site. It is crenulated at the water, continuing the language of the bays at the shoreline, while its linear edge facing the park defines the boundary of the site. The undulating landscape creates elevated viewing platforms, sunken gardens and pools presenting a transition between the waterfront and the park.
The nested volumes of the five pavilions allow for a seamless insertion of new program. An education hub, multi-media projection rooms, artist residency and library at the core of each pavilion is flanked by an ancillary ring of exhibition spaces which transition into the unticketed exhibition spaces. This interstitial space - the ‘container’ - links the pavilions and encloses courtyards in the interior of the building. The fifth pavilion, the ferry terminal, is linked to the building with a canopy. The strategy of nesting is also used in the section; each nested volume within the pavilions is lowered in section, prompting a gradual descent into the central, and most intimate core. The contrast between the programmed pavilions and the open ‘container’ linking them prompts free meandering and fosters an active, self-curated engagement with art.
Central Square (Cambridge, Massachusetts) is ethnically, culturally and architecturally diverse, but it lacks density and public space, and therefore lacks identity. This project harnesses the diverse forces of the site and orchestrates them to create a strong urban and architectural identity, while maintaining its multiplicity. The dialectic of diversity and identity is explored through the fine line between mega-structure and urban aggregation.
Starting with identifying, framing and connecting leftover spaces on the site, the project weaves together the existing with the new structure. Through capping the building height at 86' feet the project tests how the dynamics of compression produce new kinds of shared spaces. The resultant relationship between old and new activates the previously neglected spaces - rooftops and back alleys - to create new opportunities for urban community. What emerges is a recharged area with a great increase in FAR, allowing new residential, commercial, and collective gathering spaces, without building towers or a tabula rasa approach. Ultimately this creates a strong identity for the neighborhood and allows the existing diversity to remain, while strengthening the vitality and variety of activities that occur in in the area.