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DECONSTRUCTING THE CITY Redefining a metropolitan vernacular through an exploration of human scale in the context of vertical urban density.

Neal Francisco DosSantos M.Arch - Fall 2015


Dedication I would like to dedicate this document to all of those who have contributed to my education, confidence, and opportunities in the past five years of my architectural studies. To my mother and father for supporting and believing in me since the beginning. To my friends, who have provided me an infinite source of inspiration and excitement.


Fig_01. Vincent Laforet. AIR Project, Manhattan. (2015)

DECONSTRUCTING THE CITY A series of architectural studies that speculate on the future of density in the urban realm, identifying directly within the context of verticality and its scalar relationship to humans.

Documentation by:

Neal Francisco DosSantos

05 Thesis Chair:

Kelly Hutzell Director, Graduate Architecture Wentworth Institute | Boston MA

Thesis Committee:

Robert Cowherd Director of Thesis Prep I Wentworth Institute | Boston MA

Lora Kim Professor of Architecture Wentworth Institute | Boston MA

Thesis Advisor:

Mark Pasnik Founding Partner, Over Under Boston MA

Date: Fall 2015


Table of Contents

Introduction | expression of intent Personal Statement

13

Abstract

15

Statement + Argument

17

Relevance

19

Literature Review | outlining an investigation Topic Area

23

Research Essay

24

Criteria + Testing

41

Secondary Criteria

46

06 Design Research | framing an approach Projections

51

Systems

68

Program

83

Density

96

Schedule

108

Precedents | case studies Downtown Athletic Club

112

Unite d’ Habitation

116

Habitat 67

118

Seattle Central Library

120

Intelligent Densities

124

432 Park Avenue

128

Kowloon Walled City

130

Brazilian Favelas

132


List of Figures

134

Research Essay Notation

138

Graphic Quote Notation

140

Bibliography

142

The End

147

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Book Structure

Preface Context for study which identifies main purpose.

Introduction Project abstract, indicating themes of study. Statement and argument, in relation to thesis investigation.

Research Topic area of thesis studies and overall project concepts. Relevance to the outside world, and considerations for the future. Essay composed of preliminary research topics and notation.

Criteria Study of research topics in order to determine successful criteria.

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Preliminary testing through a written and physical medium.

Projections Primary concepts of study as understood through topic graphics. Outline of investigation as a whole and consideration of method.

Framing Honing into a successful method and developing concept frames. Through digital and physical media, framing of important themes. Articulating fundamental visuals based on criteria.

Schedule Time-frame of key events on the path to completion.

Precedents Successful case studies that portray close adaptation of criteria. Projects that act as a divergent antithesis to key thesis themes.


Preface

Introduction Abstract Statement Argument

Research

Projections

Topic Area Relevance Framing Systems Program Density

Criteria Testing Secondary

Schedule

Precedents Case Studies Antithesis

Notation

Bibliography

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Fig_02. Vincent Laforet. AIR Project, Manhattan. (2015)

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Introduction The expression of an architectural intent, outlined as an investigation into the life and civility of the urban realm.

It is my intent that through the following introduction, this thesis will find itself speaking out as a single and independent entity, outlined in its entirety and presented briefly as relevant, contemporary, and within the increasingly desirable realm of the urban metropolis.


Fig_03. Chrysler Building in its context, Midtown Manhattan.

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Deconstructing the City


Personal Statement My name is Neal Francisco DosSantos. I am lucky to be writing not only this statement but this thesis in its entirety, and I owe much of what I have to my parents and family—of a rich Portuguese heritage—for allowing me to pursue this dream. Before I was given the opportunity to explore an architectural education at the Wentworth Institute, I grew up on the South Shore of Massachusetts in the small, middleclass neighborhoods of Dartmouth, Massachusetts. My experiences growing up in eastern rural America allowed me to pursue an early education in the arts, further contributing to my interest and creativity at the graduate level. Since childhood, I sketched and drew in my many notebooks, and during my secondary school years I found myself in advanced placement art courses.. Ever since I can remember, the allure of the city had excited me. Living very close to New Bedford, a city on the water, and being only just south of Boston had always sparked my interest in the splendors, miseries, and desires of the urban realm. With only a stroke of luck and the enthusiasm of a young student of architecture I would be given the chance to pursue a metropolitan dream at the age of nineteen. Shortly after finishing my second year of studies in architecture, I was offered the position of architectural intern at the offices of Create Architecture Planning & Design in New York City. What I didn’t know prior to my interview, however, was that these offices found their home in the seventieth floor of the famed Chrysler Building. I forced on myself a lifestyle shift from the safety and quiet of Dartmouth, Massachusetts into the controlled urban chaos of New York City. Looking over the rooftops through the iconic triangular windows at its peak, gazing towards the startling extrusion that was the Empire State Building, and feeling myself floating over the city as a whole as I peered into the boroughs of downtown Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. That art-deco skyscraper changed my life, it propelled me forward, and empowered me to pursue an education, a life, and a thesis that is, at its core, truly metropolitan.

Introduction

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Fig_04. Tim Szczebak. New York City rooftop aerial. (2014)

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Abstract Our lives, within the context of human density, frame a purpose to which the modern metropolis must adapt to and initiate with. A city, its inhabitants, and the architecture that relates them to each other are now intertwined with the increasing normative of urban life. It is only through an embrace and amplification of human congestion, density, and civility that architecture can maintain its relevance with people under the conditions of verticality. Through a utilization of human scalar relationships and a mediation of proportions, there emerges an opportunity for the reconfiguration of contemporary urban life. Such an urban condition is then the framework for the way in which a new paradigm for architecture—dense, vertical, and utterly human—should perform in a way that celebrates its own congestion; the implementation of a true metropolitan vernacular.

Introduction

15


Fig_05. Tim Szczebak. Manhattan Underpass. (2014)

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agglomeration hyper-density civic realm splendors miseries congestion desires social hub prosperity urban playground consciousness hybrid sphere needle vertical schism synthetic city-state seamless territories expansion irresistible condenser intercourse aggregation performances instability decongestion definitive specialization metropolitan framework addictive machine urban entity limitations extremity abstractions infrastructure ambiguous

Deconstructing the City


Thesis Statement Life in our cities is becoming exponentially more dense. What if architecture could be designed relatively to the human scale, mediating proportions as a means to adapt to the growing disconnect between people + city?

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Argument Density is now and will forever be an inevitable part of our human condition. It is by harnessing the positive attributes of this density, as opposed to its negative connotations, that communities within the urban realm can frame and intensify their conditions of necessity. A particular typology of high density within the city—continuously overcoming the conventional boundaries of human agglomeration— can allow an unprecedented enhancement to the civic realm. This new typology, an urban metropolitan vernacular, can incorporate many of the typical amenities, typologies, and urban facilities of a successful contemporary community.

Introduction


^ Fig_06. Manhattan, New York. | - Fig_07. Chicago, Illinois. | v Fig_08. Hong Kong, China.

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Relevance Our cities, in North America and worldwide, are becoming increasingly dense with life. This inevitable condition, justified by the fact that nearly two-thirds of humans will live in the urban realm prior to 2050, demands a response of metropolitan architecture. The condition of urban density has the opportunity to be splendid, if the infrastructure of a city is able to support its population. In fact, the condition of urban density by its definition has overwhelming economic, social, and cultural benefits for people as compared to that of traditional suburbia. This thesis is searching for the response of metropolitan architecture, which in turn could afford a much more prosperous, dense, and socially equitable experience for the inhabitants of the urban realm. In the attempt to find a new paradigm for what could be a civic social condenser in the city, this thesis is exploring density and congestion as a means to amplify the conditions of urban life. Towers in Manhattan, Chicago, Hong Kong, etc. are projecting themselves upward yet do so without a regard for their massive implications on the cities they occupy. With the vertical frontier becoming some of the most valuable real estate across the world, the questions of civic engagement, social hierarchy, and cultural consciousness become more apparent in the sky. Upon the discourse, there is a massive schism among theory and verticality, and this thesis will engage in these questions in order to reconsider the application of the tower within the contemporary lifestyle of the metropolis.

Introduction

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Fig_09. Vincent Laforet. AIR Project, Manhattan. (2015)

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Literature Review Outlining an investigation of density through the context of prosperity, verticality, hybridity, and individuality.

Under the influence of many authors, theorists, and practitioners, this review will outline the terms of my engagement into the topic of density in our hyper-dense cities. Amongst others, Rem Koolhaas, Vishaan Chakrabarti, and Willy Maas have been consulted heavily for their contributions not only in practice, but also in their many publications on the provocative nature of the contemporary city.


Fig_1o. Human and vehicular density in Times Square, Manhattan.

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Topic Area The capacity and density of cities in our contemporary world allow for a civic realm capable of hosting the major social, cultural, and economic splendors of our population. It is this notion that makes the urban model such a prosperous, sustainable, and joyful condition. Harnessing the positive attributes of density in the urban realm can allow for metropolitan architecture to frame, facilitate, and amplify the conditions of urban necessity, directly relating to the lives of its inhabitants. To this effect, the architecture of a city is deserving of its own typologies that coalesce with a situational urban ideology. Heightened civic enlightenment, social engagement and human interaction are characteristics of this type of environment; an environment meant for those who seek social contact through the metropolis. This urban environment is a shift in desire, economically, culturally, and socially for a less isolating civic realm. Such a typology is that which manifests itself through the breakdown of conventional boundaries of human agglomeration in the city. Urban congestion is continuously becoming inevitable and the resultant environment has overwhelming civic benefits if planned meaningfully. Challenging the development model notions of the extruded plan could provide a revolutionary enhancement to the civic realm, promoting social engagement and civic enlightenment at the scale of the city, district, neighborhood, and building. A new and hybrid metropolitan vernacular could alter the individuality of our cities, embracing the positive notions of density and addressing the necessities of human life only possible through the opportunities that the urban realm presents. Our everyday lives present an opportunity and frame a purpose in which dense cities must initiate with and continuously become an additive to. It is through an amplification of the ways in which the densification of humans is addressed, in terms of extremity and relativity, that metropolitan architecture can become the specialized condenser of life it has so often promised.

Literature Review

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Fig_11. Metaphysical Walls of the Hudson and East Rivers.

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Introduction

The urban realm is an environment that coincides with the nature of its inhabitants. The prosperity and successes of a city are generated significantly from its relationship to humans and their contemporary urban desires, and its architecture is a juxtaposition of these abstract conditions. The metropolis is more than just a representation of itself then, as its architecture has a purpose in the lives of its people. Through embracing density for its positive associations in the urban realm, and through further exploitation of this congestion in the scale of the building, urban architecture can frame, facilitate, and propagate the conditions of urban necessity. In an enhancement of the civic realm through human agglomeration, conventional boundaries and traditional methods are challenged. In effect, new opportunities for civic enlightenment, social engagement, human interaction, and modern performance are heightened through the accessibility of a new vertical frontier and its dialogue with a contemporary culture.

Deconstructing the City


Prosperity and Density exploitation of congestion”; 4 a locale that A dense urban metropolis has the has bred an example of extreme density as heightened ability to thrive in today’s a type of urban playground for the untested globalized economy, due in part to its theories of architecture’s relationship to increasing capabilities as a home to humans. This particular form of ecstasy, the most prolific of human capital. The as tested between the metaphysical walls urban environment naturally has greater of the Hudson and East Rivers has led to capacity for productive output, an output an environment meant for those who seek that inherently moves within a hierarchical social contact through the metropolis, ladder to develop a condition of widespread representing a shift in desire for a different, 1 economic prosperity for its residents. less isolating civic realm.5 Vishaan Chakrabarti, former principal at SHoP Architects and associate professor of Real Estate Development at Columbia University, offers retrospect into the positive nature of metropolitan density as an economic and social opportunity. According to Chakrabarti in his manifesto, A Country of Cities, in order to remain sufficient and viable, it is clear that a city embracing density along with the benefits of human agglomeration centers its successes on the competitive human talent of its population.2 In this regard, one could make the argument that through the overwhelming economic advantages of cities, a prosperous, sustainable, and joyful urban condition is attainable through hyperdensity and its associations with enhancing the civic realm.3 It is also on the notion of hyper-density that Manhattan - as a model for dense urban development - has fed heavily on since its “Because hyper-density - defined as density conception. The architecture sufficient enough to support subways of Manhattan, as defined contributes to the prosperity, sustainability, by Rem Koolhaas in his and health of cities, the densification of our paramount text Delirious New built and social environments will in no small York, is a “paradigm for the part determine our strength as a nation” 1

Literature Review

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Cities and Ecstasy

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It is “the splendors and miseries of the metropolitan condition” 6 that offer Koolhaas a way to effectively and retroactively analyze the artificial environment of Manhattan, through a term seductively conceived as the Culture of Congestion. 7 Developed through the arrangements of human life in a way that is unprecedented and seamless, this culture is situational to the hyper-density presented in the lives of the inhabitants of Manhattan. It is this culture in turn that offers an enhancement of the civic realm; a happy and healthy population is a direct result of the public sphere that surrounds them. In effect, a city that embraces density is also one that affords the opportunities of culture and diversity—focal points, meeting places, cultural buildings—become a catalyst in the health of urban populations.8 Chakrabarti also argues that hyper-density can only be planned successfully at the locus of transportation, which creates a local and regional model for the ways in which networked cities communicate. Through the development of contemporary urban infrastructure in tandem with public open space, schools, and other critical urban programs, cities are given the opportunity to formalize a new hyper-density, as opposed to the traditional urban formulas for aggregated urban densification.9 Density in cities is equivalent to prosperity in cities—prosperity in cities is equivalent to happiness in cities.

Deconstructing the City


^ Fig_12. Grand Central Station. | - Fig_13. New York City Marathon. | v Fig_14. London Terminal.

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Literature Review


Fig_15. Overlooking Downtown Manhattan, One World Trade.

Manhattanism is the one urbanistic ideology that has fed, from its conception, one the splendors and miseries of the metropolitan condition - hyper-density ... Manhattan’s architecture is a paradigm for the exploitation of congestion.� 2

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Deconstructing the City


Verticality In making a case for hyper-density in the metropolis as a model for civic, social, and economic prosperity, the irrefutable element of this new urban paradigm is that of the high rise building—the skyscraper. The social and cultural potential of the skyscraper lies in its inherent ability to deny the dependence and adjacencies of its projected floors, accepting its own instability as a composition—all while housing each single level with the specification of a virgin site.10 Manhattan has become a breeding ground for new technologies and ideologies, each representative and mutually reliant on the skyscraper’s over determination. A familiar extrusion of the earth has developed a mutant, which offers the opportunity to test a new coalescence of situations, each one on top of the other. Each new building becoming an ‘architectural city-state’, acting as an island both equitable and demanding, all potentially at war with each other and all forcing their presence on the street below.11 These buildings, striving to be their own “Cities within a City”, have the same opportunities of culture and diversity as that of the metropolis as a whole. Conventional boundaries which historically defined building typologies are blurred and replaced with conflicting ideologies; an alternate reality of juxtaposition, instability, and optimization in the urban realm.12 Through FARMAX: Excursions on Density, MVRDV and founding partner Winy Maas describes the modern metropolis as a

spatial configuration deconstructed in the purest processes, an image of the city shaped only by the social subjects of ambiguous and obscure identity. To this end, the city becomes a backdrop for all of the emotional and intellectual adventures of society; the totality of the experiences and events of its bodies.13 Maas conceptualizes his ideology of the skyscraper through its distribution as a “vertical neighborhood packed with ideals”; 14 a typology that relates and stimulates a certain social awareness and security. This vertical neighborhood is a manifestation of the Culture of Congestion as first articulated by Koolhaas, in which layers of program interchange and conduct themselves individually as a means to relegate proximity. Naja & deOstos, in a segment of Pamphlet Architecture 29 titled Ambiguous Spaces, make claims for the value of architecture as a discipline that promotes questions about human occupation.15 In a similar manner to the way Maas implies the purpose of a city, Ambiguous Spaces finds architecture to be a language inconsequentially relative to human lives and human creation. Naja & deOstos find themselves critically exploring expressive tools as a means to form opinions on the complex issues of urban practice and densification in relation to our necessities and being.

Literature Review

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“A cross fertilization that results in a series of successful hybrids in which the needle’s capacity for attracting attention and its territorial modesty are matched with the consummate receptivity of the sphere.” 3

30 Contrasts and Hybrids Verticality and the accessibility of the sky in Manhattan is the precursor to that which is a cross-fertilization between the interior and the exterior of buildings within the dense urban realm. Koolhaas understands the two as different typologies in architecture, and that functions are able to adapt to the forms of their vessels—skyscrapers in this case—more easily within the specificity of Manhattan.16 As the external is concerned with appearance of the building as an object and form for attracting attention in the urban realm, the interior is within a “state of flux” of programs, themes, territories, and goals.17 This successful hybrid is further relevant to what is described as the juxtaposition of the

needle and the sphere, a metaphor that is ever present in the theories of Koolhaas and that of Manhattanism in the 20th and 21st centuries. In this case, the metaphor is referring to the first New York World’s Fair in 1853, where the relationship between a high tower (Trylon) and a large dome structure (Perisphere) represents the juxtaposition between the exterior as pure formalism and the interior as a reciprocator of program.18 The notion of these two hybrids becomes a successful model in Manhattan, where the label of needle and sphere are not separate entities at all, but rather the two constituent parts of a whole.

Deconstructing the City


Fig_16. Trylon and Perisphere Postcards, New York World’s Fair 1939.

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Literature Review


Culture and Instability

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2,028 blocks. Each hosts a performance, a story, and an ever-expanding cultural situation in Manhattan unique from the next; “only the territory of the block frames all stories and lends them coherence.”19 The block has become a binding element of urbanism (Manhattanism as defined in Delirious New York), that ties together programs, aesthetics, and the lives of people. If the block is a pivotal moment of unprecedented combination, then the extrusion of the block is a revolutionary arrangement that proclaims the tower as a social and civic center of a metropolis. A constituent of its own parts, the block cannot perform in the absence of its subjects, or without the guiding principles of its urban promises to the city. In the case of Manhattan’s Downtown Athletic Club (1931), Koolhaas is descriptive of the skyscraper as a social machine which generates and intensifies the culture and ecstasy of its inhabitants.20 Its theory is indistinguishable from that of modern urbanization, which showcases the plan of each floor as an abstract composition of activities and performances; only a fragment of the larger spectacle of the surrounding metropolis. The club offered, as opposed to the density of Manhattan below, a program hyper-refined within maximum specificity.21 The skyscraper in this case allows for a juxtaposition previously impossible, offering a new paradigm for a social aggregate of urban interaction and intrigue, seductively

layered one upon the other. In this case the Culture of Congestion now offers a criteria, a framework for the way in which a city, a block, and a building can all manage to coexist as a singular and positive urban entity—one that manifests itself in its scalar relationships with the human. The Club represents, in the speculation of Koolhaas, a consummately surreal exploration of the potential of density. It is through its disassociation with programmatic rational, and through its definitive instability that the Club becomes something almost altogether unrecognizable; a true social condenser. Rafael Moneo briefly speaks to the idea of a constructivist social condenser in his reflections on Koolhaas, stating simply that buildings of this title had a profound capacity to provoke reactions from the masses, inherently positive. This theory is actually condensed from that of Russian Constructivists of the 20th century which implied their presence on Modernism from that of autonomous art to a practice of social purpose.22 It is in Manhattan, however, that these condensers first emerged in successful models such as the Downtown Athletic Club.

Deconstructing the City


Fig_17. Downtown Athletic Club. Starrett and van Vleck. (1930)

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Literature Review


34 Policy This type of human agglomeration conflicts with the heavy handed notion of hyperdensity as the precursor to characterless, congested skylines. Chakrabarti argues his points in the same regard to that of the Downtown Athletic Club, that vertical hyperdensity offers a new model to traditional urban formulas. Through the development of public open space, cultural centers, and other critical urban programs, cities are given the opportunity to formalize a new characterization for hyper-density. While enhancing the coherence and contradictions of the street below, good development standards could characterize the way in which buildings now have the

opportunity to act as condensing social hubs, economically viable in their conception and part of a growing communication network.23 It is to this point then, that Chakrabarti calls for an architecture that is no longer a passive recipient of public policy, but in fact imagines a new paradigm where policies could coincide with urban desire, in response, allowing humans to embrace urban life “for greater economic opportunity, deeper environmental wisdom, and for a more just society.� 24

Deconstructing the City


Extremity In an attempt to find new territories that can offer a framework of solutions within the context of dense urban development, it is possible that reconfiguring relativities may become a necessity. Winy Maas is forging an argument in this territory, his work becoming the expression of an attitude that focuses energy on the negatives of an environment cloaked with the rationales of suburbia, with a reconsideration of hyperdensity through its prospects in the 21st century.25 By carrying density to its limits, Maas enters the realm of massiveness and extremity in urbanism. Within his theories Maas is questioning our perceptions of the contemporary urban realm, where environments are being blurred and the technical and logistical parameters of cities are based on the adaptation of our habits. Hoping to answer the prevailing questions of how humans want to live, Maas explores—in his text, The Vertical Village—the principles of individuality, flexibility, diversity, informality, identity, and the human scale in the vertical boom of Eastern Asian cities.26

and dense contemporary lifestyle. Adaptation through conglomeration is the theme, in a similar manner to the notion of Manhattanism in its ability to “generate density, exploit proximity, provoke tension, maximize friction, … promote filtering, and sponsor identity” in the city. 27

This text is an experiment that studies the probabilities of personal freedom and public opportunity, through digital processing and manipulation. Maas is supporting densification “When architecture becomes urbanism, through extremity, trying it enters the realms of quantities and to find ways to exemplify infrastructure, of time and relativism... the imperfections of our Events take place in apparently unorganized conditions, while adapting to patterns, the very chaos of which possesses a more equitable, profitable, logics, allowing ‘gravities’ to emerge from within this endless tapestry of objects.” 4

Literature Review

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Relativity

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Chakrabarti offers the idea that through a new paradigm of hyper-density our cities can answer to the urban, regional, and global level questions of mass concentrated populations. It is through the scale of the human and its relationships to extremity that this model can defy the traditional logics associated with vertical life. Because hyper-density is defined as density to support human life at its core, Chakrabarti is weary of a city that shifts its focus away from this definitive variable.28 Under the lens of that which is yet to be plausible, Jimenez Lai conveys his criticality of such conditions in his graphically illustrated novel, Citizens of No Place.29 The result of this graphic undertaking is that even under the pressures of totality and extremity of congestion, architecture is that which “organizes our existence”.30 The desirability of Lai’s futuristic fascinations is not the point, instead his speculations on the necessity of architecture to frame a consciousness, explore social contexts, and to articulate the human condition is a key consideration in the study of our contemporary cities. Koolhaas certainly fascinates on the tipping point of congestion as well, analyzing the theory of Raymond Hood’s Manhattan, a city swallowed by architecture that shifted its relativity away from the human.31 This Manhattan is one that has superseded the concept of reality, where the human life of the city has been enclosed and the metropolis itself has become an addictive machine meant only to feed its own

tendencies and necessities.32 It is not this addiction that should be at the center of development, however, and Koolhaas argues that the architecture of the city is one that must “vindicate the original promise of the metropolitan condition”;33 a condition that has a purpose in the lives of its inhabitants. It is within the promise of the metropolitan condition that the urban realm is striving to reach a point where it coincides with the splendors and desires of the human.

“Manhattan is now a quiet metropolitan plain marked by the self-contained universes of the Mountains, the concept of the Real definitively left behind, superseded. The gates define a hermetic Manhattan, a Manhattan with no external escape, a Manhattan with only interior pleasure.” 5

Deconstructing the City


^ Fig_18. Jiminez Lai, Citizens of No Place | v Fig_19. Raymond Hood, Manhattan 1950. (1931)

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Literature Review


“Such an architecture is an aleatory form of ‘planning’ life itself: in the fantastic juxtaposition of its activities, each of the Club’s floors is a separate installment of an infinitely unpredictable intrigue that extols the complete surrender to the definitive instability of life in the Metropolis.” 6

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Conclusion Density, hybridity, individuality, and verticality are situational doctrine from which to pull ideas and develop strategies for implementation in our ever congested cities. Our everyday lives frame a purpose to which the city must initiate with and continuously become an additive to. It is only through an amplification of the ways in which the densification of humans is addressed in the 21st century, considered through extremity and relativity, that metropolitan architecture can become the specialized condenser of life it has so often promised. The modern metropolis and its inhabitants are intertwined socially, culturally, and economically, so much that the resulting architecture should perform in a way that allows and celebrates its own congestion; a true metropolitan vernacular. Such an urban condition is then the framework for the way in which architecture—dense, vertical, and utterly human—could become a socially positive, equitable, and contemporary urban entity, manifesting in its scalar relationship with its inhabitants.

Deconstructing the City


Fig_20. Tim Szczebak. Empire State Building, Manhattan. (2014)

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Literature Review


The following criteria and sketches are part of a series that analyzes the topics, themes, and considerations of the research essay in a way that outlines a further thesis investigation looking forward. Each criteria is studied for its implications on the research prior, and tested with a drawing that attempts to forge a scenario that meets its objectives. In effect, the criteria has become a framework for the success and failure of the project ahead.


Criteria + Testing 41 The testing of a criteria set allows for a model from which to consider the successes and failures of a project.


Fig_21. Criterion Sketch 01 _ Tower of an ambiguous shape.

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Architectural Adaptation Human congestion will naturally force architectural adaptation. A breakdown of conventional boundaries and traditional methods of human agglomeration in the city will be essential, challenging notions of the extruded plan to promote social engagement and civic enlightenment. A vertical neighborhood composed of irregularities, challenging the most primitive methods of tower design in order to promote the positive connotations associated with cities.

Deconstructing the City


Fig_22. Criterion 02 _ Scalar differentiation amongst a field.

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Scalar Exploitation The population of the world and specifically that within cities is growing exponentially. This project must explore an exploitation of this inevitable urban congestion, through a utilization of human scalar relationships and a mediation of proportions at the scale of the building. Scaling components in relation to each other and in relation to humans can provide a means to mediate urban congestion while providing parallels that bridge the disconnect between people + city.

Literature Review


Fig_23. Criterion Sketch 03 _ Agglomeration on the street-scape.

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Prosperous Urbanity With the successes of cities centered on its population, this project should produce an environment that coincides with the nature of its inhabitants and has the capacity to generate an urban prosperity. This condition must embrace density for its socially positive associations in the urban realm. An urban street-scape should fully embrace and hold relation to the vertical urbanism it encompasses, successfully utilizing the earth as a binding element in cities.

Deconstructing the City


Fig_24. Criterion Sketch 04 _ A new metropolitan vernacular.

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Developing Culture The production of a dialogue with the contemporary culture of the 21st century will be necessary in maintaining relevance, inherently creating the manifestation of a new metropolitan vernacular in our cities; dense, vertical, and utterly human. A new architectural typology that can break the physical and conceptual barriers between the ‘vertical islands’ that compose much of our congested city skylines, in effect capitalizing on the tower’s most descriptive feature; its isolation.

Literature Review


Secondary Criteria Finding an implementation strategy for congested cities based on density, hybridity, individuality, and verticality.

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Producing a new definition for the culture of cities as it relates to human desires and architecture. Conceptual formation descriptive upon a juxtaposition of the needle and the sphere (aesthetics and program).

Deconstructing the City


Fig_25. Istiklal Caddesi, Istanbul. (2015)

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Literature Review


Fig_26. Vincent Laforet. AIR Project, Manhattan. (2015)

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Design Research Framing the approach to an ongoing design development, through the application of graphic method + research.

The design research section focuses on the methods, concepts, and techniques of preliminary research. Each graphic, model, and research item dives into a concept of study, precedented or outlandish, that has further implied itself on this thesis investigation. Each frame, project, or graphic development has been disseminated for its value and for its greater implications on the research segment of this thesis and the projected study ahead.


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Deconstructing the City


Fig_27. Disconnection and a lack of individuality.

Scalar Gradient in the City Our contemporary cities are a host for architecture within a broad range of scales, sizes, programs, and purposes. This condition affords a city which becomes a datascape of rationalities, personalities, and individuality. Is it possible that this gradient of scales can be further relative to the singular and absolute scale of a human being in order to promote an amplification of these conditions? This graphic illustrates a condition where the architectural elements find themselves distinctively separate from the inhabitant. In aggregation, this condition becomes devoid of personality or individuality, and eerily reminiscent of life in contemporary buildings.

Design Research

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Fig_28. Identifying a gradient of scales that exist in the urban realm.

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Deconstructing the City


“It is abundantly clear that the street, the road, the highway, - while often treated as a kind of object form or ‘thing’ - is almost always an act of form, controlling a stream of spatial consequences.” 7

Design Research

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Deconstructing the City


Fig_29. Exploring a gradient through verticality. (01)

Our cities are growing vertically, almost without contention. In the need to adapt to these conditions, a new typology must be speculated upon. This model study conceptually illustrates the need to grow vertically in our cities, adapting to the needs of humans in the urban realm through a scalar gradient. Each member within the model hosts a gradient of randomly sized volumes (potentially showcasing a range of human activity), that when aggregated form a sculpture illustrative of a vertical village. Each member is a different height, and the visible divide among the six members is almost indistinguishable.

Design Research

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Fig_30. Exploring a gradient through verticality. (02)

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Deconstructing the City


Fig_31. Exploring a gradient through verticality. (03)

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Design Research


Aggregation at the Building Scale

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The unit / component in architecture as a building block has been changing in the architecture of the 21st century, significantly because of technology and its implications on computational design. Buildings with a scale that once held extreme monolithic presence can now be calculated and constructed as a constituent of its many components—breaking up the scale and allowing for much more of a relativity with the human. The graphic presented here is a contemporary American architectural icon (One World Trade), distorted to a degree through a slight pixelation. In this case, the units / components of this digitization are what contribute to the many scales of the building and its overall image, not its massiveness or iconography.

Deconstructing the City


Fig_32. Breaking down mass through digitization.

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Design Research


For ease of constructibility and development, many contemporary buildings are designed as a monolithic image to house one programmatic volume, broken down in scale exclusively by their exterior facade expression and elements.

60

On the opposite page, another American icon has been deconstructed into its individual component parts, demonstrated through the use of exploded axonometric. Each component now acts as is own member, completely devoid of the association with the context of the rest of the tower. Programmatic instability is offered, while the building still acts as an entity in itself.

Deconstructing the City


Fig_33. Consideration of the building component as part of the whole.

61

Design Research


62

Focusing on digital manipulation and subsequent rapid prototyping, this exploration dealt primarily with the representation of urban density, relative to horizontality. Somewhat reminiscent of intensified slum conditions (Brazilian favelas), the representation is built upon a series of code generators that allow for a specific surface condition to be established. Each cubic component is scaled and located in relation to a set of criteria, judging particular density and relative scalar relationships. The result is a 3d printed model, showcasing a density typology that is current to the mass population sprawling in South America.

Deconstructing the City


Fig_34. Exploration of building aggregation through horizontality.

63

Design Research


Fig_35. Juxtaposition within the context of the city in an attempt to create a place.

64

Deconstructing the City


Creating a Place Our urban environments are a juxtaposition of people, buildings, and places. Within this context of urban living, the most important locations are those that provide social, civic, and cultural opportunities for inhabitants. This graphic questions these civic necessities, and speculates on what required in creating a place that attracts visitors, and creates a lessisolating civic realm.

Design Research

65


Fig_36. The people and hands that control a city.

66

Deconstructing the City


A city is a direct representation of the hands and names that control its development. This graphic is reminiscent of the urban playground of New York City and its many contributers, developers, and leaders. What if these faces and hands had the opportunity to produce a building that could transcend current development standards, and lead forth a change in normalities for the vertical frontier and its relative social implications?

Design Research

67


Framing / Systems 68 Understanding the metropolis as system of obscure, situational, social and civic constituents.


The following framing investigations are highly prescribed to the notion of the city as a system; comprised of people, events, infrastructure, and architecture. In a way, the metropolis is a back-drop for these components, a playground for the events of the 21st century to find their home. Framing the systems of the urban realm have allowed for an understanding of the city as a living thing capable of responding to its constituents.


Fig_37. Scalar relationships amongst program.

70

This graphic tests a scenario in which the notion of scalar relationships between humans, ambiguous shapes, and program are intertwined into a recognizable but obscure system. Defined programmatic spaces can pass from object to object and those without program are left open, while the orientation is left for the user to determine. This leaves inhabitants moving amongst the multiple scales, adapting to their new origins and facilitating a social experience among the ambiguity of the entire system.

Deconstructing the City


71

Design Research


Fig_38. Extremity as an urban condition; architecture of Magnasanti.

72

Magnasanti is a concept, first represented as an experiment, that tests the capabilities of mankind to adapt to and live within a city that knows no limits. This urban realm, which is at capacity physically, showcases a city that has traded its humanity for production, and its individuality for maximum capacity. This representation is a true antithesis, as each tower block is not only similar to its neighbor, but exactly the same.

“It shows that by only focusing on one objective, one may end up neglecting, or resorting to sacrificing, other important elements. Similarly, (in the real world) if we make maximizing profits as the absolute objective, we fail to take into consideration the social and environmental consequences.� 8

Deconstructing the City


73

Design Research


Fig_39. Relative form and density on the water; ^ New York | - Berlin | v Hong Kong.

The following three axonometric graphics are a representation of size, density, and economic stability as it relates to the formal qualities of cities. New York, Berlin, and Hong Kong are tested in relation to each other, using the same graphic technique to disregard their cultural differences and test them exclusively on their individual formalities.

74 The effect is a sequence of graphics that showcase the three cities without regard for their individual buildings and portray them with only the simple extrusions of a four sided polygon. Density, relative height, mass, void, and the relationship to water all become undoubtedly clear when utilizing this comparison method.

Deconstructing the City


75

Design Research


Fig_40. Juxtaposition of two systems; New York + Boston.

76

“The street is a very specific way of ordering the city. Even as we probe in depth and in detail the forms of the street, we must also somehow simultaneously think beyond the centrality of the street as the arbiter of social and urban order. Mapped out but not socially recognized... As we go through our study of the street, we have to keep in mind the street’s other.” 9

Deconstructing the City


77

Design Research


Fig_41. Organization of a cubic system. (01)

78

This study analyzes the organization of a system composed primarily by horizontal members that are sufficient as regulation for an aggregation of cubic volumes. In return, the volumes are able to manipulate their scale according to their location, and as the system threads out the volumes decrease their size while maintaining relativity to each other and the horizontal regulating members. This type of system could infer horizontal or vertical organization of volumes within a city.

Deconstructing the City


79

Design Research


Fig_42. Organization of a cubic system. (02)

80

Deconstructing the City


Fig_43. Organization of a cubic system. (03)

81

Design Research


The frame of program allows for a probe into the dense urban realm with more specificity to that of its individual moments of architecture. The concept of program itself in the 21st century is at the core of necessity for urbanity, as every new urban center proves so important to its reciprocated context. This shifts the necessity and urban significance of a building into that of its purpose for a greater urban ideology as opposed to just its outward appearance.


Framing / Program 83 A probe into the increasing necessity of buildings to become an additive to the spatial urban realm.


84

Deconstructing the City


Fig_44. Allowing situational program to dictate formalism.

This investigation into program is a recreation of what Lebbeus Woods describes as an architecture of potentially new and creative relationships with nature. In this context, the exploded symmetry of the object presented showcases the effects of situational program to dictate formalism in design. The object is a direct manifestation of its site, its context, and the world that its a part of. Each element continues to bend, displace, extrude, and distort itself based primarily on the nature that extorts it. This investigation is that of responsive architecture at its “The San Francisco projects explore the core, defining itself responsibilities for an architecture that in its on outside forces. conception, construction, and inhabitation comes into new and potentially creative relationships not only with the effects of earthquakes, but more critically, with the wider nature of which they are a part.� 10

Design Research

85


86

Deconstructing the City


Fig_45. Urban lifestyles as represented in exploded form.

The program and specificity of the urban realm is complex, layered, and heavily articulated in the way it has been designed. Constructed of the five most essential layers of human life in cities, this graphic is representational of the ways in which our cities could operate and the hierarchical associations of their programs. The lowest of them all is transportation, adeptly placed below ground, while the more active and engaging programs find themselves part of the social realm, topped finally by residential accommodations. From the bottom layer: (Infrastructure and transportation, recreation and splendor, culture and civic delight, production and capital, housing and lifestyle).

Design Research

87


6 blocks 2000ft

8 blocks 2000ft

88

12 of 19 63%

2 blocks at 65% of full tower size occupies 100% of previous space

9 of 9 100%

1150’

8.75x more land devoted to green space and/or other beneficial program

Deconstructing the City


Fig_46. Urban model for single block vertical extremity.

401281 sqft

800’

232482 sqft

909007 150’

sqft

800’

89 1750’

128 of 146 87%

Design Research


90

Deconstructing the City


Fig_47. Representing sectional adjacencies vertically.

A city that is completely fabricated by man. This notion has been explored heavily by many of the deconstructivist avant-garde architects and their predecessors. In a self-sufficient environment, what kind of new architectural paradigms of form will evolve to become the normative. This exploration offers a final solution. Each block dominates the culture, life, civic expression, infrastructure, economic triumphs, and ecological conditions of a city at capacity.

“The Metropolis strives to reach a mythical point where the world is completely fabricated by man, so that it absolutely coincides with his desires. The Metropolis is an addictive machine, from which there is no escape, unless it offers that too...� 11

Design Research

91


Fig_48. Juxtaposition of multiple scales; verticality + horizontality.

92

Deconstructing the City


If the two most intensified living conditions (verticality + horizontality) were to coincide, what would be the output of such a juxtaposition? This study represents the favela of Brazil in relation to the high rise building of Manhattan, in an attempt to bring clarity to the pure formal differences in scale that the two typologies are formed upon. Each with its own datums, types, vernaculars, and economic situations, this juxtaposition proves to be unsettling for the conditions it represents. The representation acts as a polar tipping point to the cultural stability investigated in the totality of this thesis.

Design Research

93


Fig_49. Materiality, scale, and location in its relation to program.

94

Deconstructing the City


Materiality, scale, and location are the relative factors associated with architectural composition. If these conditions are malleable, what are the resultant forms? This study is associated with architectural composition and its relative programs. In considering the implication of necessary programmatic shifts, the model was crafted to showcase material and scalar change as it must adapt to program. Each volume, based on three different materialities, flows along a surface considering its relation to the other masses. Physical boundaries are the catalyst to change the length, width, and variable location of these ambiguous masses.

Design Research

95


Framing / Density 96 Understanding congestion in order to frame the conditions for urban prosperity and civic delight.


Density and congestion are inevitable conditions of urban life, especially when looking forward into the cities of our future. Through the exploitation of density, our architecture can in fact use congestion to better society, offer an uplifting economic prosperity, engage more socially, and capitalize on cultural opportunities. It is in finding a new architectural paradigm, a 21st century metropolitan vernacular, that this density and congestion can become a catalyst in our joyful urban lives.


Fig_50. Exaggerated living through verticality.

As the urban condition in our cities expands to embrace density as a normative, urban architecture must adapt accordingly. What are these new vernaculars of urban life, and can they project themselves as socially uplifting?

98

This study explores a concept begun in the turn of the century in New York City. If taller buildings are becoming commonplace, what are the conditions that will make them successful models of urban life? The graphic illustrates a playful example that is not lacking in its individuality, “In the urban context, the verticalscape aims but fails to offer a to be a catalyst that renders the historic or socially equitable modern fabric contemporary, in both the solution. formal and the social or cultural realms.� 12

Deconstructing the City


99

Design Research


100

In response to a prior investigation of pixelation and image deconstruction, this graphic is representative of an American icon and its most basic forms. Each new seed in the pixelation provides less pixels which are larger than the prior. The resulting form is an image that encompasses only the most basic shape and color of the original composition. Could this attitude in form generation be applied to architectural design, in turn leading to an emphasis on component aggregation?

Deconstructing the City


Fig_51. Scalar catalogue of a modern icon.

101

Design Research


^ Fig_52. Mapping urban density, Manhattan | v Fig_53. Mapping urban density, Los Angeles

102

This investigation is tailored to understanding density as it relates to Western cities, in this case New York City and Los Angeles. The prior a high density city and the latter a city of sprawl, these graphics showcase the walkable and vehicular conditions of these cities. By mapping density, high intensity zones within these cities can be determined, while further understanding the limits of occupation.

“Cities are often layered, but they rarely exhibit the characteristics of vertical succession, as defined by spatial stacking. Cities, more often than not, do not pile up.� 13

Deconstructing the City


103

Design Research


^ Fig_54. Mapping urban density, Hong Kong | v Fig_55. Mapping urban density, Mexico City

104

In a similar regard to the prior investigation, these two graphics showcase a density mapping of two non-American cities, Hong Kong and Mexico city respectively. Hong Kong situated along its bay, while Mexico City is pulled far from its center because of its tendencies towards sprawl. The similarities of high-density vs. sprawl in both the United States and beyond help rationalize the concept as a world wide condition.

“The city is a complicated technology that needs to be understood on its own terms. A city is not simply a gathering place of many people, a city contains cityness. There is in the city a kind of DNA that even when you’re looking at a very small slice of the city, it is still imbued with cityness.� 14

Deconstructing the City


105

Design Research


Fig_56. Scalar discrepancies in the urban realm.

In the contemporary cities of our world, we must be continuously mindful for the ways in which humans can interact with architecture and the implications of poor development standards on valuable land.

106

This graphic represents an image of dystopia, where the image of the human has been completely separated from that of the urban realm. Even as a population, the tipping point has been defined. Without proper standards and morals in development, our cities will be empty and our people will have to go somewhere else. The ‘else’ is left to ambiguity, in this graphic and in reality.

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Design Research


January

February

Evaluation Reconfiguration of prospectus and addition of graphics. Determining validity of criteria. Articulating key themes for entry into design.

Research Finding essential case studies which articulate common themes. Production of graphic story-line for “The Preconceived Notion�. Adaption of research essay and criteria in accordance to new findings.

Design

108 Design phase 01. Manipulation of criteria. Site selection.

Deconstructing the City


March

April

109 Design phase 02. Site manipulation and graphic quality determined. Pre-pass at criteria testing.

Critique Final criteria testing. Project reflections and relevance. Considerations and implications of thesis studies.

Production All graphic work production. 3D models, renderings, animations. Final prospectus.

Design Research


Fig_57. Vincent Laforet. AIR Project, Manhattan. (2015)

111

Precedents Utilization of case studies in a way that frames a broader criteria for success and determines a tipping point.

Each of these precedents, in their own way, showcase the novel ideas that this thesis is trying to reconfigure, redefine, and further manipulate. Through a broad range of context, location, scale, and program, these projects (precedent & antithesis) are part of a framework that will continue to define the criteria for success and its subsequent tipping points.


Downtown Athletic Club Starrett & van Vleck, 1930 Manhattan, New York Culture and instability. The Downtown Athletic Club is descriptive of the skyscraper as a social machine which generates and intensifies the culture and ecstasy of its inhabitants. The program, floor by floor, is hyper-refined with maximum specificity so as to create a pure juxtaposition of activities and performance. The skyscraper in this case offers itself as a social condenser, a new paradigm for a social aggregate of urban interaction and intrigue.

112 The Downtown Athletic Club manipulated the framework for a typical high rise skyscraper, offering a criteria for the way in which a building can coexist within its city and become a positive urban entity. This type of culture is that of the Culture of Congestion, first presented by Rem Koolhaas, when identifying the Downtown Athletic Club as a constructivist social condenser deep rooted in its own instabilities and disassociation with programmatic rational. The Club offered, as opposed to the density of Manhattan below, a program that practiced social purpose, inherently positive in its surreal exploitation of a 20th century human condition.

Deconstructing the City


^ Fig_58. The Downtown Athletic Club as it exists today. | v Fig_59. Basketball courts on the 8th floor.

113

Precedents


^ Fig_60. Swimming pool on the 12th floor. | v Fig_61. Historic aerial photo of the Club.

114

Deconstructing the City


“In the Downtown Athletic Club the Skyscraper is used as a Constructionist Social Condenser: a machine to generate and intensify desirable forms of human intercourse.� 15

Precedents

115


Unite d’ Habitation Le Corbusier, 1952 Marseille, France

116

Commissioned as a multi-family housing residential project for the people of Marseille dislocated after the bombings of France during the Second World War, Unite d’ Habitation was the first large scale project designed by architect Le Corbusier. The building began a trend in the work of Corbusier that focused primarily on communal living for all the inhabitants to shop, play, live, and come together. The idea was based upon bringing together the inhabitants of the large volume outside—typically housed within their own private spaces—where they could live communal, social, and civic lives. The Unite d’ Habitation is essentially acting as a city within a city, as the roof becomes a garden terrace for the residents home to a track, club, gym, pool and a variety of shops. This project encapsulates many of the basic premises of social constructivist architects, pulling together individuals through an emphasis on architectural activation. The project, with both its modern ideals and modular proportions, has inherently proven to be a social condenser.

Deconstructing the City


^ Fig_62. Exterior view of units. | - Fig_63. Social spaces on roof. | v Fig_64. Interior view of units.

117

Precedents


Habitat 67 Moshe Safdie, 1967 Montreal, Canada

118

Habitat 67, originally conceived by Moshe Safdie as part of his thesis at McGill University, was intended as an experimental solution for high-quality housing in dense urban environments. The result became a new age housing complex that primarily dealt with the ideas of prefabrication and a new paradigm for apartment-building design. The housing complex succeeded in creating a new housing typology that is both effective and site adaptable, paving the way for many other prefabricated modern housing projects. The real success of Habitat 67 was also its ability in breaking the traditional formalities of high rise urban buildings. In turn, the modularity allowed for each unit to maintain access to a roof garden, a constant flow of fresh air and the maximum amount of natural light. Habitat 67 integrated two key typologies, the suburban garden home and the economical high rise apartment. This new paradigm for urban living exploited the conditions of density in a way that allowed for a successful, civic, and social model to become commonplace.

Deconstructing the City


^ Fig_65. Exterior view of building massing. | v Fig_66. Entirety of the complex.

119

Precedents


Seattle Central Library OMA + LMN, 2004 Seattle, Washington

120

The Seattle Central Library, within the design ambition of OMA, has become a contemporary example of a civic space for the circulation of knowledge in all media. The building form itself is implied only from the programs that it houses and the innovative organizing system defined by Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus. This project, conceived as an institution to combat the threat of a shrinking public realm, intuitively arranges and scales stable programs in a way that is reminiscent of the logic of the Downtown Athletic Club. What this work of architecture is able to become then, is a true contemporary social condenser for the procurement of information and knowledge. OMA has succeeded, in this regard, to house a new metropolitan typology of civic space in the urban realm. Each area in the library is defined and equipped for dedicated performance, with varying sizes, flexibility, circulation, and structure. Koolhaas defines this typology in relation to the contemporary age of information, with the library acting as a curator of its own contents.

Deconstructing the City


^ Fig_69. Exterior photograph from street level. | v Fig_70. Exterior photograph from adjacent rooftop.

121

Precedents


^ Fig_71. Multi-use reading room and cafe spaces. | v Fig_72. Interior faceted condition of facade.

122

Deconstructing the City


“At a moment when libraries are perceived to be under threat from a shrinking public realm on one side and digitization on the other, the Seattle Central Library creates a civic space for the circulation of knowledge in all media, and an innovative organizing system for an evergrowing physical collection.� 16

Precedents

123


Intelligent Densities Kent Jackson, SOM, 2015 London, UK

124

London in its current state is facing what some may call a housing crisis. The greater London population is projected to increase exponentially while new housing development has simmered to a halt. SOM proposes that this shortage should be manipulated into an opportunity, allowing for new desirable housing tower typologies to be synthesized as a result. Intelligent densities is a scheme for vertical communities that integrates the ideology of the multi-cultural London street scape into the tower typology, while adapting to the needs and desires of individual patrons. This type of high density building incorporates many of the typical amenities, typologies, and facilities of a typical successful community. This proposal aims to offer future adaptability in its variances, and suit the particular splendors—social and civic spaces host 30% of the tower—that the community demands. This type of architectural thinking affords a new paradigm for the ways in which high density vertical urbanism can offer a stronger sense of community than its horizontal counterparts.

Deconstructing the City


^ Fig_73. Section through living and communal spaces. | v Fig_74. The tower rendered into its site.

125

Precedents


In the same regard as successful architectural precedents, the concept of an antithesis can further extend the theory of an idea, by taking it into the realm of extremity. The following antithesis precedents display a tipping point in this study, which further displays the nature of architecture that is unregulated, without morals, and just past the threshold to which this particular thesis is attempting to address. It is without a criteria for success that these projects came into being, leaving one to be imposed on them.


Precedents / Antithesis 127 Understanding the tipping point, in an attempt to regulate and redefine a clear set of criteria.


432 Park Avenue Rafael Viñoly Architects, 2015 Manhattan, New York 432 Park Avenue is now, at its completion, the tallest residential building in the world. In addition to its height, the skyscraper also manages to be one of the most expensive living situations available to Manhattan. Its infamy, coupled with its extraneous pricing has made this skyscraper a ‘lock box in the sky’, practically empty and home only to the money of foreign investors looking to manipulate their share in New York City real estate.

128 This type of situation, although not physically taking up a great magnitude of space, has managed to have an overwhelming effect on the economic value of the land around it. In turn, a this building becomes a constant reminder only of foreign investment and displaced New Yorkers due to a rapid hike in the housing market across Upper and Midtown Manhattan. The space, physically and conceptually, that 432 Park Avenue takes up in New York forms a dangerous trend in contemporary high rise development. Architecture in this regard has lost its touch with that of humanity, as empty buildings rise out of the midst of the skyline.

Deconstructing the City


< Fig_75. 432 Park Avenue within its context. | > Fig_76. The tower as it relates to Central Park.

129

Precedents


Kowloon Walled City Hong Kong, 1898 - 1994 Kowloon was an edge city within a city, acting as a space in between the conventional boundaries of urban life in Hong Kong, and challenging the traditional notions of urban planning. Kowloon provided a case associated with extreme hyper-density. With 130 times the amount of people per hectares than Manhattan, Kowloon provided an alternate reality in which to study a lawless, instable case for density in our cities.

130

It is this lawless, instable case that makes the Walled City of Kowloon an example of unregulated extremity. Uncontrolled urbanism that has not only far surpassed a tipping point based on criteria, but demolished a reasonable perception of relativity in human life. The people of Kowloon know nothing else, and they want nothing else. The relativities of human prosperity, joy, culture, splendors, and miseries that are known to the people of Hong Kong are all detracted and replaced by life inside the wall and its stagnant imperfections. Kowloon was conceived as an extreme with no criteria for urban success, and where there is nothing, anything is possible.

Deconstructing the City


^ Fig_77. Exterior facade balconies. | - Fig_78. Kowloon in its context. | v Fig_79. View of the walled city.

131

Precedents


Brazilian Favelas Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Favelas, by definition, are urban slums in Brazil. These informal settlements were developed in part because of Rio de Janeiroâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s building boom in the 1940s through 1970s, when a grand rural exodus forced the population into cities; where there where no homes. In turn, these settlements not only represent an influx of density within a short period of time, but have come to represent a population stuck in economic stagnation and devoid of the rich, civic opportunities of urban life in Brazil.

132 In many cases, the favelas are a strong form of irregular occupation definable by lack of public services or urbanization. These subnormal agglomerations face extreme poverty in many cases, which leads to an influx of dangerous living conditions. These conditions are perpetuated by drug violence and trafficking, in addition to militia combat and lack of an organized police presence in the poorer communities. Favelas offer an example of hyper density with no means to regulate itself. Without standards or municipal criteria, the favelas of Brazil found themselves as social condensers in the harshest manner.

Deconstructing the City


^ Fig_80. The favelas within their context. | v Fig_81. Life within urban agglomeration.

133

Precedents


List of Figures

Fig_01:

Vincent Laforet. AIR Project, Manhattan. (2015)

05

Fig_02:

Vincent Laforet. AIR Project, Manhattan. (2015)

09

Fig_03:

Chrysler Building in its context, Midtown Manhattan.

11

Fig_04:

Tim Szczebak. New York City rooftop aerial. (2014)

13

Fig_05:

Tim Szczebak. Manhattan Underpass. (2014)

15

Fig_06:

Manhattan, New York.

17

Fig_07:

Chicago, Illinois.

17

Fig_08:

Hong Kong, China.

17

Fig_09:

Vincent Laforet. AIR Project, Manhattan. (2015)

19

Fig_10:

Human and vehicular density in Times Square,

21

Manhattan. Fig_11:

Metaphysical walls of the Hudson and East Rivers.

23

Fig_12:

Grand Central Station.

25

Fig_13:

New York City Marathon.

25

Fig_14:

London Terminal.

25

Fig_15:

Overlooking downtown Manhattan, One World Trade.

27

Fig_16:

Trylon and Perisphere Postcards, New Yorkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

29

Fair 1939.

134

Fig_17:

Downtown Athletic Club. Starrett and van Vleck. (1930)

31

Fig_18:

Jiminez Lai, Citizens of No Place.

35

Fig_19:

Raymond Hood, Manhattan 1950. (1931)

35

Fig_20:

Tim Szczebak. Empire State Building, Manhattan. (2014)

37

Fig_21:

Criterion Sketch 01_Tower of an ambiguous shape.

40

Fig_22:

Criterion Sketch 02_Scalar differentiation amongst a

41

field. Fig_23:

Criterion Sketch 03_Agglomeration on the street-scape.

42

Fig_24:

Criterion Sketch 04_A new metropolitan vernacular.

43

Fig_25:

Istiklal Caddesi, Istanbul. (2015)

45

Fig_26:

Vincent Laforet. AIR Project, Manhattan. (2015)

47

Fig_27:

Disconnection and a lack of individuality.

49

Fig_28:

Identifying a gradient of scales that exist in the urban

51

realm. Fig_29:

Exploring a gradient through verticality. (01)

53

Fig_30:

Exploring a gradient through verticality. (02)

54

Fig_31:

Exploring a gradient through verticality. (03)

55

Fig_32:

Breaking down mass through digitization.

57

Fig_33:

Consideration of the building component as part of the

59

whole. Fig_34:

Exploration of building aggregation through horizontality.

61

Fig_35:

Juxtaposition within the context of the city in an attempt

62

to create a place.


Fig_36:

The people and hand that create a city.

64

Fig_37:

Scalar relationships among program.

69

Fig_38:

Extremity as an urban condition; architecture of

71

Magnasanti. Fig_39:

Relative form and density on the water.

73

Fig_40:

Juxtaposition of two systems; New York + Boston.

75

Fig_41:

Organization of a cubic system. (01)

77

Fig_42:

Organization of a cubic system. (02)

78

Fig_43:

Organization of a cubic system. (03)

79

Fig_44:

Allowing situational program to dictate formalism.

82

Fig_45:

Urban lifestyles as represented in exploded form.

84

Fig_46:

Urban model for single block vertical extremity.

87

Fig_47:

Representing sectional adjacencies vertically.

89

Fig_48:

Juxtaposition of multiple scales; verticality + horizontality.

91

Fig_49:

Materiality, scale, and location in its relation to program.

92

Fig_50:

Exaggerated living through verticality.

96

Fig_51:

Scalar catalogue of a modern icon.

99

Fig_52:

Mapping urban density, Manhattan.

100

Fig_53:

Mapping urban density, Los Angeles.

100

Fig_54:

Mapping urban density, Hong Kong.

102

Fig_55:

Mapping urban density, Mexico City.

102

Fig_56:

Scalar discrepencies in the urban realm.

104

Fig_57:

Vincent Laforet. AIR Project, Manhattan. (2015)

107

Fig_58:

The Downtown Athletic Club as it exists today.

109

Fig_59:

Basketball courts on the 8th floor.

109

Fig_60:

Swimming pools on the 12th floor.

110

Fig_61:

Historic aerial photo of the club.

110

Fig_62:

Exterior view of units.

113

Fig_63:

Social spaces on roof.

113

Fig_64:

Interior view of units.

113

Fig_65:

Exterior view of building massing.

115

Fig_66:

Entirety of complex.

115

Fig_67:

Perspective within district complex.

117

Fig_68:

Overall view of proposed design.

117

Fig_69:

Exterior photograph from street level.

119

Fig_70:

Exterior photograph from adjacent rooftop.

119

Fig_71:

Multi-use reading room and cafe spaces.

120

Fig_72:

Interior faceted condition of facade.

120

Fig_73:

Section through living and communal spaces.

125

Fig_74:

The tower rendered into its site.

125

Fig_75:

Park Avenue within its context.

129

135


List of Figures

136

Fig_76:

The tower as it relates to Central Park.

129

Fig_77:

Exterior facade balconies.

131

Fig_78:

Kowloon in its context.

131

Fig_79:

View of the walled city.

131

Fig_80:

The favelas within their context.

133

Fig_81:

Life within urban agglomeration.

133


137


Research Essay Notation

01_

Michael E. Porter, Competitive Advantage: Creating and

Sustaining Superior Performance (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998). 02_

Chakrabarti, Vishaan, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for

an Urban America (New York: Metropolis Books, 2013), 55. 03_

Edward L. Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How our Greatest

Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier (New York: Penguin, 2011). 04_

Koolhaas, Rem, Delirious New York: A Retroactive

Manifesto for Manhattan, New ed (New York: Monacelli Press, 1994), 10.

138

05_

Chakrabarti, A Country of Cities, 109.

06_

Koolhaas, Delirious New York, 10.

07_

Koolhaas, Delirious New York, 125.

08_

Chakrabarti, A Country of Cities, 108-117.

09_

Chakrabarti, A Country of Cities, 117.

10_

Koolhaas, Delirious New York, 107.

11_

Koolhaas, Delirious New York, 89.

12_

Winy Maas and MVRDV, eds., FARMAX: Excursions on

13_

Winy Maas and MVRDV, FARMAX: Excursions on

Density, 3. ed (Rotterdam: 010 Publ, 2006), 154-156. Density, 103. 14_

Winy Maas and MVRDV, FARMAX: Excursions on

Density, 560. 15_

Jackowski, Nannette, and Ricardo de Ostos, Ambiguous

Spaces: Naja & deOstos, Pamphlet Architecture 29 (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2008). 16_

José Rafael Moneo, Theoretical Anxiety and Design

Strategies in the Work of Eight Contemporary Architects (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2004), 312-313. 17_

Koolhaas, Rem, ‘Life in the Metropolis’ or ‘The Culture of

Congestion’, Architectural Design 47, no. 5 (August 1977). 18_

Koolhaas, Delirious New York, 27.

19_

Koolhaas, Delirious New York, 150.

20_

Koolhaas, Delirious New York, 152.

21_

Koolhaas, Delirious New York, 107.

22_

Moneo, Theoretical Anxiety and Design Strategies, 312.


23_

Chakrabarti, A Country of Cities, 137.

24_

Chakrabarti, A Country of Cities, 27.

25_

Winy Maas and MVRDV, FARMAX: Excursions on

Density, 14-32. 26_

MVRDV (Firm), Why Factory, and Museum of Tomorrow (Taipei, Taiwan), eds., The Vertical Village: Individual,

Informal, Intense, Why Factoryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Future Cities Series 4 (Rotterdam: NAI Publishers, 2012). 27_

Koolhaas, Rem, Bruce Mau, and Office for Metropolitan Architecture, eds., Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large,

2nd ed (New York: Monacelli Press, 1998), 199. 28_

Chakrabarti, A Country of Cities, 216-223.

29_

Lai, Jimenez, Citizens of No Place: An Architectural

Graphic Novel. First Edition (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). 30_

Jimenez, Citizens of No Place.

31_

Koolhaas, Delirious New York, 177.

32_

Koolhaas, Delirious New York, 293.

33_

Koolhaas, Delirious New York, 293.

139


Graphic Quote Notation

01_

Chakrabarti, Vishaan, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for

an Urban America (New York: Metropolis Books, 2013), 127. 02_

Koolhaas, Rem, Delirious New York: A Retroactive

Manifesto for Manhattan, New ed (New York: Monacelli Press, 1994), 10. 03_

Koolhaas, Delirious New York, 27.

04_

Winy Maas and MVRDV, eds., FARMAX: Excursions on

05_

Koolhaas, Delirious New York, 177.

06_

Koolhaas, Delirious New York, 157.

Density, 3. ed (Rotterdam: 010 Publ, 2006), 101.

07_

Rosetta Sarah Elkin, Platform 6: A Year of Research

through Studio Work, Theses, Lectures, Exhibitions and Events, (Barcelona: Actar Publishers, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 2013), 22 08_

Sterry, Mike. “The Totalitarian Buddhist Who Beat

Sim City | VICE | United States.” (VICE. May 10, 2010.

140

Accessed November 23, 2015). 09_ 10_

Elkin, Platform 6, 67. Lebbeus Woods, Radical Reconstruction (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1997), 20.

11_ 12_

Koolhaas, Delirious New York, 157. Eric Howeler, Platform 4: A Year of Research through

Studio Work, Theses, Lectures, Exhibitions and Events, (Barcelona: Actar Publishers, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 2011), 208 13_

Elkin, Platform 6, 229.

14_

Elkin, Platform 6, 279.

15_

Koolhaas, Delirious New York, 152.

16_

Koolhaas, Rem. “Seattle Central Library.” (OMA. Accessed December 6, 2015).


141


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02_

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Koolhaas, Rem. ‘Life in the Metropolis’ or ‘The Culture of Congestion’,

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20_

Maas, Winy, and MVRDV, eds. Spacefighter: The Evolutionary City (game:). Barcelona: Actar, 2007.

21_

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24_

MVRDV (Firm), Why Factory, and Museum of Tomorrow (Taipei, Taiwan), eds. The Vertical Village: Individual, Informal, Intense. Why Factory’s

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28_

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31_

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33_

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144


145


Thank you for taking the time to view this body of work that is representative of my pursuits over the past year, and of an ever-changing condition of human life in our cities.


the end.

Prospectus  

Deconstructing the City v1 Neal DosSantos

Prospectus  

Deconstructing the City v1 Neal DosSantos

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