Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Spring 07 Semester: NYU Housing

Douglas Gauthier, Gauthier Architects.
Cathy Chia, Desai/Chia Architects.

The Site for this project was an open lot on Broadway in between 4th and Great Jones St. It has this crazy alley entrance on the back as well as the Broadway facade. This was our 'Diagraming' studio and so lots of this stuff is kind of crazy. The idea, i think, was to get us to be able to analyze and understand our design process and to be very clear about the moves that we were making. The program was institutional housing for NYU and included a mixture of grad student, married student and teacher units.

Broadway Facade, 6 floors up. 'Lounge' space / hallway is on the left, bedrooms on the right.

The rear of the building, the 'twist' in the massing produced this double height atrium space.

Inside one of the units - shared by 3 to four residents typically, although there were plenty of 'sinlges' as well.
The hallway / lounge with the 'Porches.'

Sectional Perspecitive of the whole building - 18 floors total.

I working with Johnny on this project and from the very beginning one of the things we wanted to investigate was the interaction between residents within the project. We wanted to avoid the 'College Lounge' effect where there is one large 'common' space with a big TV, smelly carpet and only one person ever using it - or it get taken over by one specific group and no one else uses it. So we looked at other ways that residents interact with one another in a variety of settings, specifically the stoop and the front porch.

We tried to develop a circulation model and a form which would allow residents to engage with the common area [here - a widened single-loaded hallway which was integrated into the facade] while still maintaining a level of privacy and ownership over the space. Thats the fancy way of saying everybody gets a porch on the front of their apartment which spills out into the hallway.

The 'Skin' of the project is an assembly made of a bunch of different layers. It includes columns, perforated metal panels of varying opacity levels, vertical garden panels to filter the air coming off Broadway, floor-floor pathways and fully opaque glass panels for the enclosed sections. We were encouraged to think about the facade as extending from about midway through the building and ten feet away from the building as well - its a thick sandwich with all sorts of stuff going on - not a flat surface which covers a pre-existing structure.

In the end, we were told to build a 1/4" scale model of the entire project for the final review. Ours ended up being about 4' 6" or so if I remember correctly. The floor plates are made of MDF which we CNC milled at Johnny's shop from the CAD files and then used bass wood, plexiglass and scale lumber to build out the form. It was a fun model - although i didn't sleep, eat or drink a single thing during the last 36hrs or so of its construction. But man didn't it look good walking in on review day. :)

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