Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Final Weeks - final review

Driving diagrams

How can the damage of Katrina be put to good use? One of the great polluters of the world is the housing industry. We do not have permanent, sustainable techniques that reuse building materials, cut energy costs, and improve the environment. Can we use the detritus of the hurricane to alleviate other problems, namely the hurricane itself?

This design builds on the introductory housing project, leveraging the careful arrangement of sight lines to empower the inhabitants against any unwanted infiltration by outsiders. The design is tall, with all rooms of all units containing windows. Just as the unit configuration is equalized, the building turns to open up more opportunities for the inhabitants to inspect the landscape. The building footprint itself is small to compact space and make effective the possiblity of resident interaction and overall external awareness. And, the building is placed on a mound with a winding path so that the facing units can inspect any potential visitors.

It is this mound that solves the next problem - the water. The debris of the hurricane moves from problem to solution - the mound of debris is the wall. This imposing structure acts as a deterrent to the water and to crime. This wall stands well above the potential water line since the city itself lies at or below sea level in most areas. This mound rises higher than a 100 year flood with increases for sea level increases due to global warming. It is created as both a practical physical barrier to potential natural dangers and as an ideological reminder that perhaps we should work with the environment - lest we find ourselves in ruin.

Unit Diagram Model

Transformation Mapping - Upper Floors

Detritus Wall - plan

Typical Floor Plans (through transformation)

Section (through transformation)


Perspective Rendering

Model on Site (perspective)

Model on Site (plan)


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Week 9 - Group Site Analysis

The students investigated five general catagories, in preparation of development of their housing projects.

Topography / Land Features
Landmarks / Monuments / Visual Area Moments
Weather / Climate

These catagories developed as a database for all students to reference.

There is one great equalizing factor in New Orleans, and that is the flood. Sociological, economic, and racial data points to the fact that the flood, above all, affected every group. Vastly diverse in their heritage, saddled with a population consisting of 25% living below the poverty line, riddled with crime - this defines New Orleans. We saw this change with the flood. And while one could claim that the government toiled too little effect for certain segments of the distressed city while responding to the disaster, one cannot argue against the hard facts - the water was everywhere.

Flood Terrain

Sun Days

Demographics/Flood Analysis


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Week 8 - Site + Context Analysis

fly through tour of new orleans with landmarks for Google Earth (download):

Site analysis along "Inner Harbor Navigation Canal" showing the rise in level of the water in case of global warming or catastrophic hurricane!


One could surmise that in the aftermath of New Orleans, chaos would ensue. Reports came out of the damaged city that crime had actually dropped proportionally more than the estimated population. This news hit as host cities for the displaced citizenry reported slight increases in crime. Houston, in particular, saw crime rates surge after welcoming in the refugees:

While officials would not directly attribute the crime incidents to the influx of people, the crime statistics themselves bore this out directly. But other rhetoric rose out of the calamity and despair - intonations of racial and economic bias against certain portions of the population.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Week 7 - New Orleans: Reflecting, Revision, Regeneration, Reconstruction, Reintegration

New Orleans: Reflecting, Revision, Regeneration, Reconstruction, Reintegration

In the continual development of cities there are events, sometimes catastrophic, which transform the physical and ephemeral identity of that city. Hurricane Katrina not only destroyed homes, businesses, and historic institutions, but also communities and thus attributed to a larger sense of loss. When confronted with loss, many are often comforted through memory and a recollection of the past with others. How can this reconstruction and regeneration of community become envisioned through an architectonic presence?

The program of housing in a Post-Katrina New Orleans has the potential to reflect upon a multiplicity of conditions new to the city. In addition to the physical damage caused by the elements, the city must negotiate the eventual return of evacuees and the potential settling of current aid and construction workers. What is the role of high density housing in a city where the sense of home has been destroyed, residents have been displaced, and the media continually visualizes progress. How can architecture reflect upon the past in order to prevent the possibility for social breakdown in future catastrophic events?
The second half of the semester will focus on developing a critical position towards the role of housing and its ability to aid in the formulation of community.

Thanks to our professor, the studio now has a library in the school. One of the first additions ot the collection is Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. An appropriate passage (for the current studio phase) on the memory and scale of a city (and my favorite):

Cities & Memory 3

In vain, great hearted Kublai, shall I attempt to describe Zaira, city of high bastions. I could tell how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and the degree of the arcades’ curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past: the height of a lamppost and the distance from the ground of a hanged usurper’s swaying feet; the line strung from the lamppost to the railing opposite and the festoons that decorate the course of the queen’s nuptial procession; the height of that railing and the leap of the adulterer who climbed over it at dawn; the tilt of the guttering and a cat’s progress along it as he slips into the same window; the firing range of a gunboat which has suddenly appeared beyond the cape and the bomb that destroys the guttering; the rips in the fish net and the three old men seated on the dock mending nets and telling each other for the hundredth time the story of the gunboat of the usurper, who some say was the queen’s illegitimate son, abandoned in his swaddling clothes there on the dock.

As this wave from memories flows in, the city soaks it up like a sponge and expands. A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira’s past. The city, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.

I'd like to offer a link of my own to the library. This follows through with my analysis and design from the prior two efforts in this studio. We have covered visual ownership, and we have covered privacy/security, but when naming the constituents (the insider and the outsider), I failed to mention IDENTITY. Identity seems blurred, also, because it is not necessarily a physical phenomenon:

Thoughts? I wonder, how would Italo Calvino scale Zaira when considering identity in this regard? How does the prior example scale (analysis and design) of territory, visual ownership, and privacy/security?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Week 6 - Conglomerate Housing Prototype Review

unit configurations broken up into individual addresses, individual towers then conglomerate

Paths from each individual address to furthest unit, red lines represent its two fire exit paths

Top two images - fixed static model (1/32") bottom image - deconstructive model (1/16")

The final review consisted of 4 panel drawings (site plan, floor + roof plans, sections, diagrams + renderings), relevant 1"=32' study models (massing + unit type deconstructive), 1"=16' solid model and a deconstructive 1"=8' material model.

Final Review

Final Models - 1"=8', 1"=16'


Monday, March 06, 2006

Week 5 - Design Development

Design development became something more than structuring units according to programmatic requirements. The apartment study of territorialization played a key factor in shaping the overall building form, materials and geometry of the structure. The floor plates were moved in and out according to the designations of semi-private and private. Instead of weakly succumbing to the whims of visual intrusion from the outside, this design seeks to fight back – to empower the inhabitant in semi private areas through greater visibility within and without. The material reading of the façade in private unit areas serves as a foreboding warning to outsiders to help give the feeling of being watched, thus improving privacy and security.

floors top-bottom, l-r: 1-2-3, 4-5-6, 7-8; semi-privacy vs privacy diagram in plan

improved sight lines through floor plate manipulation in plan

improved sight lines through carving in section

material rendering, NE corner


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Week 4 - Conglomerative Prototypes

Here's a web based version of my initial diagrammatic program study (in slightly more dynamic form - Flash):

and a more dynamic version that blurs the lines of unit types (Flash):

and another view of the deconstructive models (LARGE 1MB+ Flash movie):

Best viewed 1024 x 768 screen resolution. Shown here also in plan:

floors, top-bottom, left-right: 1-2-3, 4-5-6, 7-8

- Max

Here's a 1/32" scale model and some quick renderings of my initial 28 unit housing project. Notice the setbacks from the streetface to create a semi-public space in front of the lower units, as well as the terraced outdoor spaces throughout the building.


My housing project is being developed with specific attention to how light enters both the project as a whole and each individual unit. Here is my first rendered diagrammatic layout at three specific times during the day. - Cheryl

Week 3 -Historic / Precedent Studies

This housing analysis explores the characteristics of the typical metropolitan interior courtyard as well as the interaction between adjacent residence.

This step explains both the process of 'The Whale' and my process for the '28 unit housing exercise'


The project ‘de Landtong’ on the 'Kop van Zuid', is a 4 hectare new urban development in the old harbour area in the southern reaches of Rotterdam. The sheer magnitude of the project, the contrast between unity and variety in programme and size, and the history and topography of the locality together form a unique framework. It makes the project a 'city within the city', a new urban typology within the austere urban master plan.
While the classic block is defined by continuous edges, the complex morphology of ‘de Landtong’ is the outcome of a three-dimensional composition of slabs, towers and strips, with form related to programme and orientation. The programmatic requirement of 625 houses made it possible to design houses and apartments of an unprecedented typological abundance.
Diversity was also possible in terms of public circulation, private outdoor space and articulation of fenestration. Street facades are generally orthogonal, with occasional punctuation by descending volumes.

-Antony- Sam- Kevin-

The BedZED urban system reconciles high-density three-story city blocks with high residential and workspace amenity. Workspace is placed in the shade zones of south facing housing terraces, with sky gardens created on the workspace roofs, enabling all flats to have outdoor garden areas, with good access to sunlight, at the same time as providing well day lit workspace. The combination of super-insulation, a wind driven ventilation system incorporating heat recovery, and passive solar gain stored within each flat by thermally massive floors and walls - reduces the need for both electricity and heat to the point where a 135 kW wood fuelled combined heat and power plant (chp) can meet the energy requirements for a community of around 240 residents and 200 workers. -Cheryl

The apartment study turned in to a definition of ownership. If a person claims the façade of your building through photograph or if they claim the façade of the building through graffiti, who is the true owner?

Likewise, if an outside constituent claims visual ownership through apertures, does this diminish the private space? Where do the boundaries begin and end in a dense housing situation?

labeled facade photo with grafitti and general graffiti from windows

This is the study of visual privacy and visual boundaries. This issue is of particular importance in dense housing, because density=demand=higher price$. Actual private space is forfeited by the very light accommodating apertures that inhabitants demand. Physical boundaries take on a different meaning than just “wall” and “window” when addressing the concessions and compromises you have to make in an urban setting to attain privacy. Private space is literally whittled down.

Privacy of the entrace and semi-private circulation foyer to street - sight lines

Privacy in plan and section of apartment from interior to street - sight lines


Week 2 - Historic/Precedent Studies

Students were asked to research housing in the attempt to understand how successful communities could be developed. The research ranges from analytic models to plan, section, and descriptive drawings documenting the organization of the dwelling units and the situational circulation patterns. Complex systems became evident, and through the investigation of the housing blocks an attention developed towards complex variable organizational systems.

The Historic Precedent Research phase accounts for two weeks, and provides insight towards understanding potential solutions when addressing contemporary housing.

Studio participants include:


Thursday, February 16, 2006

NYIT Housing Studio | Palazzolo Studio Introduction


Contemporary housing exists as a complex tapestry of economic, social, and political factors. These factors combined with local, regional, and global concerns about density and population provide a fertile ground for new developments towards architectural innovation. How can one use precedents from the past to inform current discussions through the forum of architectural design? How can the strategic organization of housing units become a critique on contemporary conditions while simultaniously providing a comfortable complex for residents.

Over the next 12 weeks, Third-year Architecture students of New York Institute of Technology School of Architecture and Design will attempt to answer these questions through a sequence of design problems. Prof. Jamie Palazzolo will serve as the moderator of this program. The students will be given open access to the service provided by this blog, while keeping in mind the advantages of weekly postings to show process and development.