Architectural Design

Premise for the Studio: The Design of Housing Among contemporary architectural scenarios, housing supports the consideration of issues including: the subjectivity of intimate values and interior space, conflicts arising from privatization and public access, and notions of \”density\” versus individuality. The design of housing requires the constant reexamination of the contested realities existing between physical and social space – a relationship modulated through individual rooms, grouped dwellings, and competing visions of urban life. As such, housing is unavoidably social, political, and critical. Its successful invention, unlike more autonomous types, foregrounds the aesthetic tension between self-reflection and objective determinants. The study area for this design project is located in Boston along the road that provided original land access to the Shawmut peninsula. It includes parcels of land on either side of Washington Street near Martin Luther King Boulevard in the neighborhood of Roxbury. This area has an explicit, yet tenuous, connection with Boston\’s city center. The urban \”fabric\” of the area is mixed, with various building types and streets creating a less than consistent morphological pattern. Predominantly composed of wood framed detached structures and various types of detached houses, the area also includes masonry party wall buildings and a mix of multifamily dwelling types. This urban situation is made all the more complex by a ground plane that produces radical changes in topography. The overall study area cannot be defined by distinct parcels of land. Scattered empty lots extend in all directions, and some lots have dilapidated or abandoned buildings. In its current state the study area represents a disparate \”catalogue\” of unresolved housing types and urban strategies. Interventions in Roxbury will require, beforehand, the invention of strategies giving conceptual clarity to what appears to be chaotic.