Path and Place

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1985
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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Abstract

“Path and Place” is the design of an ‘infill’ building, primarily residential, on a vacant site in New York City. The central concern was an attempt to satisfy the elusive criteria for a home as a special place. Secondarily, it was important enhance the community with a lively place.

Emphasis was placed on access to outdoor areas such as the courtyards, roof gardens, and balconies. ln these areas. it is possible to have a range of interaction among residents and neighbors. One may be an observer of the public scene, or a participant in a shared garden, or a shopper in a public market.

The scale of the project is compatible with mid-rise apartment buildings surrounding the site. The structure reflects that it is built over a railroad cut which runs at an angle to the street grid. Construction is of repetitive pre-cast concrete load-bearing walls and concrete slab floors. Double-thick walls are used not only to carry utilities, but to separate one residential unit from another both physically and symbolically.

There are 56 apartments varying in size from studio to large work/live units. The ground floor areas contain shops, a restaurant and a retail greenhouse. A second building is planned for the adjacent vacant site, to function as a research facility for urban agriculture. Both buildings contain courtyards—the residential one open and the research facility’s covered—which encourage pedestrian circulation from one main street to another. The roofs are used as gardens for the residents and the research facility.

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