Urban Haven

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Designed for a site on Manhattan, New York this condominium is organized as a series of vertical communities, each consisting of approximately 35 apartments arranged around a common space.

The premise is that the traditional nuclear family will continue to exist, but more “flexible” models will also continue to gain appeal. The number of singles living alone are expected to increase, as will the phenomenon LAT – Living Apart Together – will also become more common. Flexibility, community, and security are a big part of the building’s DNA and form one of the three aspects of sustainability: social sustainability.

We are currently witnessing three relevant megatrends:

1. Family will become more important than ones career 

2. Friends are will become part of the family

3. We will seek to be part of a local community

The building’s structural philosophy is comprised of two key components that complement each other.  The building stability is provided by three interconnected central cores, each of which is an interwoven lattice of structural steel which is both torsionally stiff and can support a huge vertical load as well as being able to deal with the overturning forces. Secondly, the apartments are suspended from hangers cantilevering from belt trusses attached to the cores every seven floors.

Hanging the apartments achieves completely column free floors with 360 degree views every six storeys. By suspending the apartments from intermediate hangers, the perimeter load bearing structure is put into tension only, leading to a smaller cross-section than otherwise required.  By utilising the tensile properties of steel, the visual impact of the structure at the perimeter is minimised, allows more light to the apartments, increasing visibility out of the building and provides façade flexibility.

The buildings are arranged with several communities consisting of 5 stories each with a communal central outdoor atrium. The atrium serves both as a zone for natural ventilation and visual connection between the common space and the apartments, of which the two upper floors are double height penthouse apartments. The common space is semi-public and where the occupants may choose to be part of the(ir) social network. It offers an outdoor space orientated towards landmarks of New York.

A variety of apartment types are found at each community from studio apartments to penthouses. Additionally owners/occupiers can choose to purchase or rent add-ons to their apartments such as bay windows, balconies or increased space. These add-ons create a secondary skin (i-Surface) responding to location and orientation and are part of the sustainability strategy such as shading or ventilation devices. Finally, these add-ons give the buildings their individual identity and the appearance of a living city constantly changing in response to user demand.

The site at 11th avenue between 17th and 18th adjacent to the Highline can accommodate two residential towers on an artificial hill sloped from the river up to meet the Highline. This provides both public access and allows integrated commercial units at street level and covered parking.

The artificial hill is landscaped and planted with native species in order to create biodiversity and reestablish the habitat of the Hudson River. The hill will become a natural extension of the public space offering views over the river. If adopting the proposed car share system any extra space in the landscaped hill can utilized as additional retail/public space.

As a gesture to the city, we propose that that the top of the building is publicly accessible where recreational gym stations and a lap pool is located. At night, the top is lite like a beacon or lighthouse.

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