ENVIRONMENT • FORM • FEEDBACK | Strip District, Pittsburgh PA
Partner | Kara Gadecki
Coordinator Dana Cupkova | Professor Matthew Huber • Matthew Plecity
Fall 2015 | Carnegie Mellon University

Through knowledge gained from preceding analytical projects SITE ANALYSIS • HOUSING • ECO MACHINE, the housing complex is an eco-morphological adaptation to a site in the Strip District of Pittsburgh PA. The project attempts to bring together the commercial heart of the Strip District and the site by incorporating passive eco-machinic strategies of wind and solar systems.

The current Strip District does not take advantage of its location along the Allegheny riverfront . This project strives to change this matter through a number of experiential qualities. We first create a strong connectivity between the district and the river by excavating the poorly conditioned vegetation that blocks the river view, which in turn provides a clear view of the Allegheny River. Next we leave the majority of site as landscape and vegetation, which creates a very public and welcoming park-like environment. Lastly, through the morphological designs of the housing complexes, the stroll through and around these areas becomes an antelope canyon like experience, attracting both residents + visitors to stroll around by the riverfront.

- Site Plan [1/64 scale] -

- Experiential Render -

- Watercolor Vignette -

The landscape of the site was the result of a feedback loop between climatic aspects • context • experiential qualities that wanted to be achieved. Beginning with the climatic conditions of the site, the extension of key vertical + horizontal streets create connectivity between the site and its surrounding context. Intersections of these vertical + horizontal extensions were labelled as nodes, and the connection between these nodes became the primary circulation throughout the entire site, as well the main zones. Likewise, the walkway was defined by the experiential qualities that we wanted to achieve, which were dictated by the housing complexes. Finally the bioswale that allows run-off mitigation was designed upon these preceding factors.

- Section [1/16 scale] -

We utilize our intuition from the study of wind to create a fundamental form for these housing complexes. Then by inputting these facades into a solar analysis feedback loop, which undulates the surface so as to break up the hot spots, we create comfortable levels of solar radiation throughout the entire façade of the building.

- Solar Analysis -

The undulation not only has experiential qualities, but also has performative qualities that slow down the harsh wind entering from the south-western direction. The undulating system allows for various moments to occur in the project. With further extension, the undulation can extend and become a bench or balcony. It can create openings and windows, and can also peel back to create interior hallways and partitions between units. The flexibility of this system allows the housing complex to be harmonious in both exterior and interior, maintaining the intriguing undulating qualities and system inside as well.

Greenwall • Bench
Balcony • Entrance
Balcony • Hallway
Sun Shade
Undulation • Wind


                                            MODEL | Exploring the undulating facade

                                            MEDIUM | Conservation Board

                                                              MODEL | Final massing model

                                                              MEDIUM | 3d print

                                                MODEL | Final interior model

                                                MEDIUM | Conservation Board + String

STUDY MODEL | Exploration of openings (left) Massing model (right)

MEDIUM | Wood + acrlyic (left) Wood (right)

            STUDY MODEL | Exploration of degree of undulation (above)

                                                                                             Massing model (below)

            MEDIUM | Acrylic (above) Clay (below)