Academic - Carnegie Mellon University - Advanced Studio Option Studio II - January 2016 through May 2016
Situated in the Lower East Side at the corner of Essex and Delancey, this proposal lies at the heart of New York’s dense network of energy and movement. The city is an organism in constant flux, with dirt-lined abstractions of metal and glass composing the bones of its extensive skeleton. But a shift towards a construction material that works with, rather than against, its environment has begun to occur. Wood can take over the structural duties of concrete and steel in dense urban construction, and remains far more sustainable. Wood as a primary building material presents a renewable alternative to the existing urban landscape.
We explored timber through both more conventional construction methods and the integration of steam bending with robotics.
As timber elements take on each of the project’s complex mix of building components, they empower a more holistic conceptualization of the site. Renewscape’s main structural system is composed of mass timber beams and columns. Above this, a concrete tray supports the dense packing of apartment modules. To save on transportation costs, prefabricated CLT panels are organized, stacked and shipped to the site where they are quickly erected into large modules and craned into place. Below the housing floats a market canopy composed of robotically steam-bent modules to provide shelter and beautiful daylighting effects for visitors below. Full-scale prototypes of the proposed system explored by our group test the viability of this idea.
The intrinsically sustainable timber structural system serves as a conceptual catalyst for the reimagination of other systems within the project. We propose a bioreactor be constructed beneath the site in the Lowline early in the construction process. At the onset of construction, wood scraps from the site are converted into energy within the bioreactor. Food waste created by the market and the residents also harbors the potential to transform into renewable energy.
Every element in the project is connected. The city is an interconnected system of movement: movement of energy, movement of ideas and movement of people. Renewscape takes advantage of these relationships to create a microcosm of the surrounding metropolis.Through regeneration, innovation within the urban landscape is possible.
Above this factory sits another. Fragments of Warhol’s work complement the industrial qualities of the bioreactor, giving visitors a peek into this active underbelly as they meander through a path of the art museum’s exhibits. The large, central courtyard pulls museum-goers, tenants and the general public off the busy street and into an inviting, shaded landscape. During the warmer months this space bustles with the activity of flexible market stalls.