Democratic Box:

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Related people
Elliot Smithberger (designer)
Beth Blostein (studio professor)
Spring 2021
This project uses the banal to create idiosyncratic housing. More specifically, it follows an aggregative approach to create a collection of banal architectural elements. This collection is made from traditionally utilitarian architectural objects, such as columns, beams, hallways, staircases, and arches that are scaled, shifted, rotated, and copied to create a nest of architectural stuff. This pile is then segmented and distilled to create pockets of space allotted for commerce, entertainment, meetings, markets, and housing. The program allotted to most of this mass is a public market, and as such, this pile of stuff is in a constant state of flux. Goods, people, furnishings, and transportation devices are constantly moving in and out of the system. Constant entry and egress require a vast circulatory network of both a vertical and horizontal nature, thus Lofted catwalks and freight elevators are used alongside excessively sized corridors to facilitate constant movement. Formally, variation is achieved by changing the density of elements within the courtyard. With different densities of columns and beams marking either transit space or space allotted for commerce. Higher density indicates space allotted for stalls, while lower density marks circulatory space. A lack of a prescribed circuit allows the inhabitants to create pockets of space with specific attributes while promoting impermanence as simply a programmatic framework. Of course, within this maze of unspecified space, there are more traditional centers of community interaction. Community gardens, sculpture plazas, and seating areas are located throughout. The addition of unspecified space alongside prescribed programs, such as zones slotted for public markets and commercial businesses creates a courtyard space that promotes interaction between residents of the project and members of the general public. The building itself is used as a wrapper, to consolidate and activate this aggregate of elements. The facade takes formal cues from the nest of transient space within and resolves it into a datum-like wrapper around the building. This facade is intended to reinforce the idea of wrapping the central aggregation and provides a consistent edge to the project. Ideas of density are mirrored within each part of the building, with higher density, typical units located within the tower (closer to the urban side of the site) and lower density, atypical, family-oriented units are located around the outer edge, closer to the quieter residential street.
ARCH 4420