Nomination, H.I. Feldman Prize
Palazzina is a medium scale building that offers affordable housing for middle-income freelance workers in San Francisco. Suitable to the existing density of the city, the intermediate scale of the project, which sits between the townhouse and the tower, enables independent inhabitants to form residential cooperatives. Limiting the size of the community supports effective sharing of space and domestic tasks, engendering a collective consciousness that is essential for the precarious worker of the disenfranchised middle-class. While the project is contextual in scale, the autonomy of the building is made evident by its cubic form and isotropic façade. The regularity of the exterior clearly marks a limit to the city and conceals the project’s unique spatial and social interior.
The nine-square grid defines the plan of the project. The walls between the square rooms are thickened, to create a poché space that accommodates the biological functions of living. Within this compact territory, private living cells border the façade whereas shared kitchens, storage and dining areas are centrally located. Circular rooms act as inhabitable vestibules that mediate the transition between the private cells and the centralized shared facilities. In contrast to the highly prescriptive poché space, the eight squares on the border of the plan are empty and double height. This type of generic space is particularly valuable to freelance workers who lack the structure of a conventional work environment. Devoid of the demands of household management, the un-programmed, but formally specific outer squares permit sovereign interaction between individuals, engendering entrepreneurial collaboration, solidarity and political action. The center square, which is indisputably unique, contains a monumental circular staircase that establishes a collective center for the community and affirms the wholeness of the architectural object. The distinct formal difference between the generic squares and the compressed realm of biological maintenance legibly communicates the social and political structure of the project.
Casis is a non-profit company that manages research on the international space station. The company both educates the public about space research and represents corporations developing products in space. This duality manifests itself architecturally in the Casis Headquarters. On the lower half of the building the public circulates around the Casis program and learns about space. Above, the public occupies the core of the building, where they are the focus of market research. The formal wobble of the building challenges this duality and forces the public and Casis employees to interact.
This sliver lot prototype isolates the mechanical and programmatic systems that compose a house. Circulation, Electrical, Plumbing and fenestration systems are deployed onto the site as autonomous entities. The formation of an inhabitable space is the result of the intersection of these systems within the constraints of the site. The nature of this prototype also allows for a non-linear construction sequence.