Flow Communities

Spring Semester 2014

Studio Coordinator Dana Cupcova
Studio Professors Matt Huber and Nick Liadis
with Sophie Riedel

The growing community of Pittsburgh's Strip District formed the context surrounding this proposal for housing on a riverside site the size of several downtown city blocks. With an eye to a target residency of young communters, the project takes its form from a desire to create communities integrated into the strip district while simultaneously forming distinct subcommunities within the large are they feed. Starting with the street flows and scale o fthe strip district, the consistent street grid between blocks is shifted to form more introspective groups, and then altered to form more easily circulated hexagonal blocks. These blocks form fundamental groups of ecomachinic performance; their orientations favor southern sun, the dimensions of the shared quad spaces ensure year round midday solar exposure for every level of the aggregation, and the wrapping northern facade envelope in each cell in the network functions as a stormwater collector for immediate greywater uses as well as storage and reuse as filtered water. Agricultural spaces operate on the ground level during hte summer and on beds in the complex year-round. Community centers, which include space for food preparation, bridge between east- and west-spreading aggregations of housing units, leaving circulation accros ground level open except where a wind block is needed at the western edge of the site. Occupants can approach o foot or by bicycle and ascend through the honeycomb-like section of the stairs, which prevent any unit from identifying wholly within a single level within the larger aggregation. By these means, the various flows of occupants, water, food, and light move similarly through the complex and together help to define the character and experience fo the place as tight-knit yet outward looking.

Rendering in a quad space looking out to the Allegheny River.

Close-in view of a site-section. Click for a complete view.

Summer and Winter batwing shadow diagrams show the sizing of quad spaces keeping sun from reaching the housing units at midday.

Structural diagram along housing unit lengths.

Calculations of rainwater catchment for use as a means to size bioswales along the site.

Section showing the point-mounted glazing scheme on the north facades of all aggregations acting as a stormwater collector.

Aerial Site Plan

Detail of harbor edge and swale topography for the quad spaces.

Model view of a section of unit housing from the North.

Model view of housing unitsfrom the south.

Modelled section of the communal centers, lifted off the ground and fully wrapped by the stormwater membrane.

Detail of model structure and stair interacting with the roof level.