Learning Stack: Integrating density, flexibility and efficiency for community building and wellbeing

This is an addition (High School & Community Art’s Center) to an existing P.S. Elementary School in Manhattan that envisions a vertically stacked campus thus sustaining a more dense footprint while tackling the prevalent issues of the traditional vertical urban school typology ( limited walkability, minimum outdoor space, inactive dead end, and in-between void space). The addition extends the existing four-story H-shape elementary school vertically, creating a compact –cube shape that is then perforated by semi-public void elements that host blended curriculum and extra-curriculum programmatic possibilities, a new set of surfaces to apply materials and allow openings that enrich the user’s experience and creativity. Three separate entrances and meeting spaces gather the users and orient them to the three major programs. Ground floor interior atriums and rotating staircases direct the students to the high school classes and amenities while spacious elevators lead students to the pre-k’s upper floor classrooms and activity spaces. The Community Art’s center is accessed independently from the interior courtyard and connects with the two schools through shared-program terraces.
Corrugated metal and glass are the main materials used to match the existing school’s brick essence.

DOUBLE PLINTH MIXED-USE HOUSING, NEW YORK, NY

#Affordable housing # Transit-oriented development #Street-level community space # Supportive services #Shared localised fresh food hub #Design for social equity #health # well-being #Forested courtyard #Pocket Atrium-Park #Rooftop farm #Edible balcony-garden #Fresh food # Air filtering # Passive cooling

The project envisions a mixed-use housing scheme synthesizing two architectural typologies the residential tower and the double-loaded corridor building in order to establish a diverse and programmatically dense multilayer manmade landscape while connecting the rest of the City College’s site to Hudson’s river waterfront recreational infrastructure.
The proposal responds to the existing surroundings on all four faces of the urban block: To the north side( high density collective residential neighborhood) by establishing more private and local programs, to the south ( high-end neighborhood with vibrant commercial activity and easily accessible by subway line 1)  by creating a more metropolitan and public front, to the Hudson River (artificial recreational waterfront) by connecting to the water and by extending the recreational program towards the city and finally, to the east( Campus buildings) by promoting student-oriented programs so as to better integrate with the adjacent college campus.

#3rdPrizeWinner #EnvironmentalHealthEquityAward #PittsburghPlatformCompetition #ENGINEERED-TIMBER CIVIC REALM FOR POST-PANDEMIC WELL-BEING

Jury Comments:"Appreciated the concept for a bottom-up timber economy and even so possibilities for application to other monocultures. The concept or a forestry-focused cooperative is interesting and can certainly be developed further"

The proposal mitigates the environmental and socio-economic pressures that a disruptive event like a pandemic poses on the urban setting and its inhabitants through transforming marginalized and vacant land to civic space amenities for immediate support of the community’s health and wellbeing in times of crisis while keeping the economy alive by placing shared forest-plant based economic strategies on the spotlight as the main drivers for low impact environmental growth, self-sufficiency, access to resources or goods otherwise in scarcity in times of crisis. More specifically, the project aims to repurpose 2000 acres of underperforming and marginalized land for shared timber farming in order to enact a more adequate synergistic relationship (socio-economically and environmentally) between the built space and the fragmented Hudson Valley’s forest.

In Hudson Valley, most of the trees are privately owned, growing on land at the fringe of urban development- Wildland Urban Intermix (WUI). Hudson Valley’s Wildland-Urban Intermix land is currently environmentally and economically underperforming. It demonstrates the typical unsustainable conditions present in contemporary rural American towns: large-scale impervious surfaces that fragment the regional forest corridors, defunct industrial, commercial, and transportation infrastructure that demands innovative schemes for sustainable vegetative strategies and green infrastructure as well as hyperactive development potential on the near future that threatens the biodiversity of the remaining Greenfields, tree-covered areas and accessible open green public spaces that are already significantly shrunk and ecologically undervalued due to the unregulated urban sprawl of the last decades.

The major economic engines of Hudson Valley-traditional building materials and farming- are currently unsustainable under the current context of Climate Change and for this project, these economies are acknowledged as already obsolete. Following this urgent need for climate-responsive economic reform and taking into consideration the 2018 Timber Innovation Act and the forthcoming 2021 IBC Engineered Timber update that both harness the potential of mass timber building elements manufacturing from sustainable-managed-forests as a viable option for reducing the built space’s impact on the environment in the years to come, this project investigates the utilization of timber farming as a catalyst for environmentally and socio-economically beneficial civic space design.

Tackling the large-scale U.S. monopoly of engineered-timber products, the project envisions a bottom-up timber economy- a vertically integrated, resilient timber supply chain- as a way to incentivize private landowners to sustainably manage their own forests while directly accessing a shared infrastructure of researching, harvesting, manufacturing, and retail, waste-recycling, and branding for their timber product. By creating a shared collaborative infrastructure for local forest and small-timber-business owners and entrepreneurs, new social partnerships and equally-distributed amenities will be created, boosting local economies while preserving the local and regional forest ecologies.

By sustaining long-term forest-plant-based economic development through this shared co-op system, Hudson Valley’s scaled-down timber industry will be funneled while a more socially adequate distribution of profits between diverse communities will be achieved. Composed by four entities, the Center for Resilient Forestry which is clustered with Wood Innovation Facilities, the Certification Centers, the Sawmill and Distribution Center with additional facilities for Recycling and Storage and Renewable Energy Generation, this project provides a lasting infrastructure that promotes a holistic framework for profitable and sustainable timber agroforestry that ensures the wellbeing of both the forest and its inhabitants.

#EnvironmentalHealthEquityAward

#3rdWinner 

#PittsburghPlatformCompetition2020

#EngineeredTimber 

#HudsonValleyUrbanFringe 

#PostPandemicWellbeing 

#columbiauniversity 

#Menghan Zhang

#Tian Hao

#Kuan-I-Wu

1st Finalist_Gaudi Urban Design Award 2020 #silkmatters

 TOWARDS AN ENGINEERED-TIMBER CIVIC REALM ON HUDSON VALLEY’S URBAN FRINGE

The project aims to repurpose 2000 acres of underperforming and marginalized land for shared timber farming in order to enact a more adequate synergistic relationship (socio-economically and environmentally) between the built space and the fragmented Hudson Valley’s forest.

In Hudson Valley, most of the trees are privately owned, growing on land at the fringe of urban development- Wildland Urban Intermix (WUI). Hudson Valley’s Wildland Urban Intermix land is currently environmentally and economically underperforming. It demonstrates the typical unsustainable conditions present in contemporary rural American towns: large-scale impervious surfaces that fragment the regional forest corridors, defunct industrial, commercial and transportation infrastructure that demand innovative schemes for sustainable vegetative strategies and green infrastructure as well as hyperactive development potential on the near future that threatens the biodiversity of the remaining Greenfields, tree-covered areas and accessible open green public spaces that are already significantly shrunk and ecologically undervalued due to the unregulated urban sprawl of the last decades.

The major economic engines of Hudson Valley-traditional building materials and farming- are currently unsustainable under the current context of Climate Change and for this project these economies are acknowledged as already obsolete. Following this urgent need for climate-responsive economic reform and taking into consideration the 2018 Timber Innovation Act and the forthcoming 2021 IBC Engineered Timber update that both harness the potential of mass timber building elements manufacturing from sustainable-managed-forests as a viable option for reducing the built space’s impact on the environment in the years to come, this project investigates the utilization of timber farming as a catalyst for environmentally and socio-economically beneficial civic space design.

Tackling the large-scale U.S. monopoly of engineered-timber products, the project envisions a bottom-up timber economy- a vertically integrated, resilient timber supply chain- as a way to incentivize private landowners to sustainably manage their own forests while directly accessing a shared infrastructure of researching, harvesting, manufacturing and retail, waste-recycling and branding for their timber product. By creating a shared collaborative infrastructure for local forest and small-timber-business owners and entrepreneurs, new social partnerships and equally-distributed amenities will be created, boosting local economies while preserving the local and regional forest ecologies.

By sustaining long-term forest-plant-based economic development through this shared co-op system, Hudson Valley’s scaled-down timber industry will be funneled while a more socially adequate distribution of profits between diverse communities will be achieved. Composed by four entities, the Center for Resilient Forestry which is clustered with Wood Innovation Facilities, the Certification Centers, the Sawmill and Distribution Center with additional facilities for Recycling and Storage and Renewable Energy Generation, this project provides a lasting infrastructure that promotes a holistic framework for profitable and sustainable timber agroforestry that ensures the wellbeing of both the forest and its inhabitants.

https://www.silkmatters.com/results

Vathi Library & Civic Hub

The proposal aims to construct human experience with a Spirit of Place activating an urban underutilised space that now acts as a left-over void in-between the exisitng built urban blocks and the transportation infrastructure.The aim of this multifunctional infrastructure(library & community hub) is to enable bottom-up correlations of this culturally diverse neighborhood with the traditionally recognized forms of the top-down(institutional) knowledge sharing.The library is organised around two typologies of spaces:the central atrium(a flexible space where the users of the library can “customize” the space according to their needs and re-arrange their stations in a flexible & open-ended way) and the perimeter(an authored scheme that wraps around the central atrium space where the informal story-telling is produced, archived and accessed).The remaining elements that insert within this perimeter, provide gathering spaces for workshops, community discussions or recordings production and consumption(watching videos from the archived library section, for instance). These inserts, by pushing into the outer skin of the building, also variate space in proximity to the public sidewalk and create different conditions within the interior-in-between perimeter scheme and the central atrium space.

Kifisos and the city: emerging interlocking fields

This project investigates the Kifisos river through an urban and ecological analysis and proposes measures for restoring the river, creating public space, and enhancing the cultural infrastructure along the two banks. The overall strategy posits the Kifisos river as a new cultural and ecological spine in the city, which mediates its infrastructural functions with its civic and environmental roles. An overall strategy is formed which addresses the ecological continuity of the river, flood mitigation, reconnection of the two banks, and construction of new buildings along the edges. In particular, new navigational and athletic paths are proposed along the restored river as well as sequences of public instances that respond to specific physical, infrastructural, and urban conditions. Smaller-scale proposals include a series of land formation strategies that respond to environmental and infrastructural situations. Last, four new institutional buildings are weaved at the edge of the river, on the basis of which public spaces are redesigned, thus redefining the relationship between urban and ground-topography, water, and vegetation.

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NYC Urbanism





Reconciling the typical Manhattan Grid & the Tower in Park typology: New socio-spatial and programmatic possibilities for a living community at NYC’s former industrial edge.

The proposal envisions a new collective urban housing typology in order to reconstruct NYC on both programmatic and social level, which more adequately synthesizes the scales and the lifestyles between the two dominant urbanism typologies: the typical Manhattan grid and the Towers in Park typology.
The proposal consists of three systems weaved together: the rescaled courtyard block that explores the synthesis between infrastructures and basic housing typologies, the public artifacts that provide civic amenities and multiple housing options and the connective landscape in-between that weaves the two former systems together as well as with the city nearby.
The new spatial arrangements accommodate varied domesticity options for multi-family while the new programmatic amenities and the connective landscapes set the base for a new vibrant, healthy and inclusive place at the city’s edge.
Live, work & enjoy nature: The plug-in balcony system tackles the conventional homogenous and monofunctional office-space design by envisioning shared-space plug-in modules to celebrate life, work, and nature. Thus, employees are motivated and encouraged to work effectively, healthy, creatively.