Academic - Carnegie Mellon University - Third Year Studio I - September 2014 through December 2014 - In collaboration with Mark Terra-Salomão


Str2p is a neighborhood development project aimed at reviving a derelict produce terminal and vacant lot in the Pittsburgh Strip District. The produce terminal in its current state isolates the desirable, vibrant neighborhood from available, vacant land along the Allegheny River waterfront. Selectively breaking the historic produce terminal connects the established commercial heart of the Strip district with a complementary mixed-use development.


Understanding the site in the context of the culturally relevant strip district led Mark and I to investigate methods to make the existing devlopment a complementary neighborhood. The protected produce terminal dividing the two roughly equivalent areas compounds the difficulty of bringing two neighborhoods together. Historic as it is, we decided that the terminal in its complete state represented too much of a barrier on the street plane, and would impede the creation of a meaningful connection between the exiting Strip District and the new development. To connect the two respective ares we selectively divided the terminal building using a grasshopper script based on venue popularity within the existing Strip District. In recognition of the history of the produce terminal and its importance to the city, we opted to remove the walls and leave the structural elements in place. This architectural move to allows circulation to occur between the two neighborhoods while symbolically leaving the form of the terminal intact. With the terminal divided, we then extended the openings across the Str2p site, and created a second north-south oriented performative grid to create an organizational geometry.


The second component of the project is the arrangement of the units themselves. All units are oriented with a focus on southern exposure for natural daylighting and passive solar gain. In addition, the units and the site are designed with bioswales that allow for runoff mitigation, and graywater return. Expandable, modular units allows for occupants to participate in the architectural development of of a site that updates as the occupants’ needs shift.


Each of the units is designed to engage the inhabitant as their existenzminimum changes through the addition of standardized modules to the core unit. Rather than have the project be defined by the vision of the architect, the neighborhood becomes a mosaic colored by the unique experiences and changing needs of its inhabitants.