Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Site Analysis + Design [Ronald Woudstra and Laura Casas]

The unbounded site analysis included aerial views of the Bowery Mission's rooftop, as seen from four different directions (N,S,E,W). This way of looking at the rooftop from multiple perspectives has nurtured the idea that the rooftop is at once deeply hidden in the forest of hi-rises that surround it, yet highly exposed to the public (in part due to the nearby New Museum). The Bowery Mission has the potential to become a refuge for its residents, offering them a feeling of seclusion and a place to relax, tucked away in a corner of the city.

Whilst the rooftop is hidden in the landscape of hi-rises (and yet highly visible from these hi-rises), the bounded site analysis has revealed that the roof draws in the city by means of its views of it. Visually, once feels integrated with the city when on the roof.

From the bounded site analysis, it has also become clear that the site on Bowery has vast differences in elevation amongst its five components. The analysis has also revealed that the design needs to take into account the sunlight situation, which is rather constraining at the Bowery rooftop.

Laura's initial design offered several undulating planting beds, which took the sunlight situation into account. Other strong features of Laura's design include spiraling stairways, freight lifts, and the 6' walkways which are required by building codes for access for firefighters.

Ronald's initial design featured a large water catchment area on the highest roof, framed by elevated paths and planting beds. This catchment area collects water and channels it towards the edge of the highest roof, from where it cascades down onto the roof below it. There, the water will be catched in a pool. Framing the pool is a wooden deck, which provides a seating area for the residents where they can enjoy the water spectacle, which also drowns out any noise coming from the city. A pump serves to bring the water back up to the higher roof, creating a situation where the water always keeps on moving, thus avoiding a static water surface which attracts flies and has other undesireable effects.

The ideas of both designers were combined into a final design, which retained the strong features of both designs.

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