The Soft City Platform will be part of the 2016 Beijing Design Week in the historic Baitasi (White Stupa Temple) neighborhood of Beijing. The platform will include the installation of the octopus pavilion, an inflatable structure incorporated into an existing Hutong courtyard. This pavilion will host a series of events, including the Soft City forum, with interdisciplinary panels discussing how the increasing integration of technology, ecology, economies, and politics are changing the way we think about and design in and through the city.
The Solar River project is an unsolicited research proposal that covers and powers the 336 mile long CAP canal in Arizona. The Central Arizona Project canal is the lifeblood to the two major Arizona cities Phoenix and Tucson. It charges the city aquifers and irrigates the agriculture of the entire region with water pumped uphill from the Colorado River. Currently it is powered by the largest and most polluting coal power plant in the USA, the Navajo Generation Station. We aim to power the river with renewable solar power instead of global warming causing coal power. The project also leverages Arizona state land, BLM, and other already controlled lands thus allowing for automatic egress and already improved sites. This plan would save tens of thousands of acres of virgin desert landscape from being bulldozed as compared to a typical solar utility of similar size. Currently we are working with GIS data, and solar analysis tools to calibrate the system. One major challenge is retaining access to the Canal for maintenance and repair operations, which has stalled similar studies by the Bureau of Reclamation.
This is a hill-side house for a small family in Tucson, currently in schematic Design phase. Envisioned to be built from very thick Scoria (volcanic insulated concrete) walls that provide a thermal insulating mass to buffer from the extreme temperature swings of the desert. Deep shaded overhangs protect panoramic views of Tucson and surrounding mountains. The house is made of two bars, one private wing and one public wing. The intersection of these two concrete bars is where the main staircase is located. The public space of the house is centered around on a living kitchen concept in which all family life is centered upon.
Fairmont Creamery Lofts
This project is an adaptive re-use of the Fairmont Creamery Co building build in the 1920's, situated within Milwaukee Junction, Detroit's most historic manufacturing district. Just across the Grand Trunk Railroad is Henry Ford's first automotive factory, the Piquette Model T plant. The Creamery building is an Albert Kahn type concrete column structure with no ceiling beams which allows for clean open spaces.
Being situated in Milwaukee junction, the project is within the Woodward Avenue redevelopment zone. Construction of a new light rail along Woodward Ave will connect Midtown and Milwaukee Junction to Downtown. It's a short bike ride away from the Wayne State campus and the Taubman School of Art and Design. The programming of the building incorporates gallery space, restaurant, retail, and workshops on Basement and Ground Floors. Floors 2-3 are for student and low income housing, while floors 4 and 5 have rowhouse condo units, with small roof-top yards and a communal pool. The broad mix of programming helps accommodate both current area residents and future re-urbanization. The broad mix also ensures the building and neighborhood has steady use throughout the day and year, which is vital for a healthy neighborhood. The restaurant, gallery, and retail will serve as an anchor for an evolving neighborhood and will compliment two neighboring galleries and loft style housing.
Dec 2014, Currently in concept phase
The project is a 4.5 kw solar array and carport, combining the two functions in one. There was a need for three covered parking spaces as protection from the harsh summer heat. Simply placing the panels on the roof would also have caused complications with roof maintenance over the years. With the combined solution, we chose the Sanyo PV panels, which are translucent, providing a beautiful pattern, and filtered light below. The main structure was welded in a metal shop, and lifted into place, with the secondary structure welded on after. This process was the fastest, and by far most precise way of assemblage. The whole project was completed in two weeks.
Shed No. 8841
While traveling in India in 2008, I took note of the peculiar industrial sheds and factory buildings that dot the industrial zones there. The sides of these buildings were clad in corrugated sheet metal, but had the most interesting louvered facades, also known as Brise soleils. I realized the genius of these Indian factory buildings in how the louvers allowed for natural ventilation in hot climates, keeping direct sun out and allowing for diffused light to enter, but still remaining private and impenetrable.
More then a shed its a machine that harvests rainwater and gray-water, stores it, and pressurizes it. The shed supplies the property with more then 10,000 gallons annually of what would have been wasted water. Aside from water, the shed serves as long-term storage for the family, a work shop, mechanics bay, tool room, and laundry room. The lumber and roofing metal for the shed were build almost entirely of re-claimed materials.
Special thanks to Ed Henry, Mike Lepley, and German Gonzales for their help!
Published; Mark Magazine #30 Feb-Mar 2011 p66,67 Popular Mechanics May 2011 Issue Architizer.com Dec 2010 feature
The studio is a 350 sqft single space, which serves as an office and workshop for an architect. The walls are made of compressed earth block, mixed from the soil found on site. Large windows face the north for steady even light throughout the day. A steel roof hangs over the two southern facing walls, shielding them from the sun, keeping the earthen walls cool throughout the day. Natural pressed earth blocks, corten steel, and board-formed concrete make for a very natural and rough texture that blends perfectly with the surrounding desert.
The forgeus residence started out as a small dark one-room guest house in the 1940’s with ad hoc rooms attached throughout the decades. The circulation was through small doorways, the den had one small window, the bathroom had too many walls. The outside was either glaringly sun-baked (front drive) or too dark (porch).
Replacing a collection of small doorways with a large opening in the wall, circulation and light as greatly improved. Pictured above is the new skylight, traversing from the new hallway through the wall and into the den. The black strip above being the bottom face of a new i-beam that holds up the wider opening and roof beams. below, a view of the den into the kitchen and bathroom. The opening on the left replaced two narrow doorways and a wall. The bathroom door was pushed back three feet into the bathroom, making room for circulation and a door into the storage room.
This project attempts to replace the old system of pure cookie-cutter homes as a means of building efficiently, and instead relies on parametric modeling, site input data, scripting, with an outcome of mass-customized housing that could revolutionize how homes are built. This example proposal started with a base house unit, then a series of digital parameters were developed that would modify this house to fit all the various site conditions, including difficult topography, privacy, parking, yard, and ‘guaranteed’ mountain views. The outcome is a series of homes that are all individual, adapted to a tricky site, fit the varying needs of each family, and meet the builders need for a fast, automated building process. This example makes use of a prefabricated concrete shell, with movable wood-panel walls that the family can re-arrange to fit their needs. The concrete shell, window systems, and walkway forms are generated automatically via a parametric set of rules set entered into a computer script. Because of the steep site and need for protection of the fragile desert surroundings, the density is double that of a typical neighborhood, and very little grading or bulldozing would take place. The backyard is thus placed on the roof, cooling the building, a series of courtyards and patios are placed inside the building envelope blurring the boundary between outside and in.