Urban Villa (Contemporary Triple Decker)

Triple Decker is a housing typology built mostly in the New England region during the late 19th and early 20th centuries by local developers. The city of Boston had over 15,000 triple deckers, which many immigrant workers lived in. Its three stories of simple wood construction, often with bay windows stacked vertically on the front façade, usually housed a single apartment on each floor.

We might not be conscious of the triple decker because it appears a simple, banal building, but with each unit opening to every direction it seems more comfortable than contemporary apartments. It has potential. Let’s say this is an “urban villa” in terms of its autonomy and urbanity, which Aldo Rossi similarly referenced: "The typological problem of the residence in Berlin" in his L'architettura della citta.

How can we reinterpret the triple decker in order to design Boston as a contemporary urban villa?

Vernacular buildings have always been given a role that is in contrast to modernism, such as architecture without architects by Rudofsky, with modernism regarded as high culture and vernacular as low culture. This studio will deal with the building typology in a positive way, beyond the dilemma between modernism and vernacular.

The first three weeks will involve group research and analysis on triple deckers in Boston, and then each student will pursue individual projects on specific sites in Boston of their choosing.

This course has an irregular meeting schedule.

Go Hasegawa will be in residence on January 19, 20, and 31, February 1, 7, 8 and 28, March 1, 21, and 22, April 11, 12, 25, and 26, and May 1, 2, and 3.