The Different Lives of Spaces - Reconsidering the City Block as a New Neighborhood in Washington Dc

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Virginia Tech


The city with its urban density, infrastructure, and cultural, social and educational opportunities can be a desirable place to live for all - regardless of age, income or background. The city of today has changed considerably from the city of the 19th century. Neither is it the city of the future. However, it has great potential to anticipate to the challenges we will face in the future. It is a place that constantly changes. It is a living organism!

This constant change is a challenge for architects to develop concepts and design-solutions that can react to shifting uses, zoning requirements, and dweller habits. The constant alteration of lifestyle, residential and commercial use, as well as job-related needs demands a high flexibity and adaptability in architecture and urban planning. Today's life is fast and unpredictable.

Other contemporary issues such as sustainabilty or climate change are becoming key issues of today's discussion - in society, in the media and in world policy. Architects - responsible for our built environment - have to find innovative solutions to such ever-changing problems within their profession - within architecture.

How can a concept, project or building be designed or constructed to anticipate those future needs, and what are the limits?

To explore these questions and many more that followed I chose a site in midtown Washington DC. My thesis project includes 23 townhouses with partial retail, incorporated along an alley in the interior of a city block. The new development is integrated into the existing structure.



alley, modular system, infill, shell, docking, network, core, open building, pre-fabrication, system, structure, weaving, townhouse, density, Sustainability, flexibility, adaptability, panels