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New York High Rise Hybrid

Final Thesis Project

MENTION, Top 20 Final Projects Of The Year at UAUIM

SHORTLIST (Top 25 Final Projects) at Graduate Architecture Award 2012

Tutor: Architect Dorin Stefan, Ph.D.
co-Tutor: Architect Flavia Rosu, Ph.D.
Engineer Advisor: Adrian Iordachescu, Ph.D.

The site for my final thesis project is part of the newest major urban development of NYC - Hudson Yards Westside Railroads, and it is situated on the one of the most vital connection corridor of Manhattan in the territory - the New Jersey railroad.

The existing situation of the surrounding area of the site is characterized by multifunctionality; there are three functional areas on the adjacent sides of the Hudson Yards: residential, commercial, and transport and industry. The diversification in typologies of the existing buildings within this dense area exhumes 19th century row buildings, along with the "alphabet" buildings and setback towers; this mixture of typologies generates a process of hybridization. In this respect and in this context, the site poses as the perfect layout for experimentation of hybrid architecure applicable to a high rise building containing offices, apartments, indoor and outdoor public spaces - commercial, cultural and educational activities.

Studying the city, the history and the evolution of it, I have learned that his uniqueness in comparison with european cities, cames from the complexity and the juxtaposition of activities including the public spaces which are developed mainly within the buildings structure.

Having fixed requirements in terms of functions and quantities, my design approach is based on the idea of complexity of activities in the spirit of the city and his urbanity - creating both Manhattan-type public spaces within the building and public plazas.

The site being situated on a pedestrian axis populated with three main public cores, I have followed to create a public system/mechanism which connects all the mandatory activities and functions.

The design approach to achieve the established design direction, will begin with the inventory of typologies present in Manhattan, then identifying entities of public spaces – indoor and outdoor, together with an analysis of the weights of these types of spaces that were public in relation to the rest of the building activities in which they belong.

Having identified five unique typologies of public spaces which includes other ones, in terms of position into the building, quantity and open to the public as being: the public plaza assembly initiated by modernist typology tower and plaza - Seagram Building , podium, from the typology of the ensemble tower on podium, the connection pod, a common element in Manhattan which links two buildings above the street in urban neighboring islands, the sightseeing platform, used in towers with setbacks as Empire State Building, and the skylobby found in the 21st century skyscrapers.

The next step was to try the possibilities of arrangement and relationship of these entities of public spaces, establishing a route designed to link them. It is possible to isolate the spaces into a rectangular network, having a grid – like the city, or juxtaposition, as in the sckyscraper or alternative. The solution chosen was different, the entities of public spaces identified were positioned into a cycle, an infinite loop, with no beginning and no end, and fully opened to public - a coagulated public space on the pedestrian path.

The corroboration of the public cycle, loop, with the need of certain activities, living and working, commercial and cultural are leading to a complex architectural program and to a hybridization of typologies of spaces, which consequently gives rise to a process of hybridization of the urban island.

An important feature of any tall building, especially in Manhattan were a suite of vertical entities demands there one personality, my project identity is being given by the kinetic double skin facade, which plays double role, on the one side it gives a sustainable solution for natural air ventilation and sun control of the interior spaces within the tower, and on the other side it creates a dynamic architectural expression, it offers the potential to generate different facades at every hour in the day.

The basic idea of the identity of my project is that users are actually express their own activity on the exterior of the tower, and through this process they, and only they, are generating the „beauty“ of the building, they and by their (users) interaction is created the identity of my project.

The concept of the plaza is based on water as a fundamental element that animates the whole public space. The water volume is pierced by the main axis which brings people from the public areas and from the street and the secondary axis unites the two blocks underneath the plinth with the plaza.

The design of the plaza with direct access from the street has two objectives to accomplish, on the first side to establish a visual connection from the pedestrian walkway to the underground infrastructure thru the translucent floor and on the other side to bring light through the transparent floor of the water tanks to the underground railways.

The massive water volumes resulted are populated with urban living rooms, that are isolated from the high traffic of the surrounding streets and avenue by the water wich is lifted up at a certain height.

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