For our mid-term presentations, the scope was to provide a concept design of our thesis building proposal with the final presentations slated for the end of July. This preliminary design is inspired by the design and construction of a tower crane, and the notion that the most interesting building is the one being built. Therefore, my concept is for a mixed use structure that can grow and adapt alongside the rapidly gentrifying Chicago west loop neighborhood which consists primarily of entrepreneurial and, therefore, highly transient professionals. If the west loop declines in development as it has previously decades prior, the units will be disassembled as well as the cores and the remains will still be a retail and plaza complex open for the public.
For the first image below, I began by comparing the geometries of my design with a typical developer driven highly economic building of a similar program. Starting at the top left working clockwise, the first image reflects a typical podium with retail wrapped around the street frontage, and an amenity deck for the residential tower above. Moving to the next image, I have deviated from that model and given the most expensive retail corner back to the public by way of an elevated plaza and park. Floating above the plaza is the residential design which consists of modular units cantilevering off of the core structures.
Figure 1 - Geometry Analysis
Aside from physical geometric advantages, this proposal also impacts the local micro climate quite differently than a typical building. As someone who has done my fair share of walking around Chicago in the winter, I would always walk on the north side of the street in order to get the little sunlight available. With a cross section that reflects more of a wedge than a three story solid mass, the sun in the winter is able to reach both sides of the street, see figure 2. Likewise, an open grid of cantilevered modular units provides an environmental transparency which allows prevailing winds to pass through the site rather than compressing from large mass structures within close proximity.
Figure 2 - Bioclimatic Analysis
Although conceptual in nature, the building section in figure 3 outlines how the public plaza integrates with retail and residential lobby below as well as a feel for how the units might begin to develop.
Figure 3 - Conceptual Building Section
Upon designing the structure of the cores which will hold the units as well as interstitial systems such as mechanical, electrical and plumbing stacks, the units in figure 4 reflect how self-contained modules can be assembled and connected to the main trusses.
Figure 4 - Unit Module Axonometric Diagram
Walking toward the project location, the Site Plan below reflects how one might articulate the vertical and horizontal plaza. For instance, residents have many options for entering the building rather than through the front door or up onto the plaza and into one of the three elevators. Similarly the employees of the retail components as wells as residents flanking the site will have access this blended green roof.