by Yuyanguang Mou (MArch '17)
The ambiguity of tropical cities sometimes could be reflected through the flexibilities of its community structure and social relationships. The aim of the design as a housing block in the city center of Medellin, Columbia is to create a “catalog of parts”, a framework that could insert a new order into the community that offer both order and flexibility.
The design was composed by 3 squared elements: housing block, SOHO office, and community courtyard, representing the essentials of life components. The blocks were elevated, leaving the ground level only columns with differentiated shapes and orientations as a framework that offers opportunities for spontaneous organizations of outdoor social and commercial activities within this tropical context, as well as a more modest way of introducing a new order into the city.
Within the housing block, each unit was framed within a linear space of multiple programs, while the other linear orientation would then be composed of the same program of different units. The 2 orthodox orders offered the opportunity for the space in the housing units to operate in both directions, achieving both the individual procession of life behaviors as well as possibilities of shared communal spaces. The occasional disruption of the rigid grid such as the elevator, the trees, the stairs and slides leading up to the roof also reinforce the idea of cross-operating space.
The office space also bears the same thought as the walls in different directions have different width that indicate a dominant order and a penetrating one in the space. The joints of walls are cut open, offering a free-circulating space that could be organized according to the will of the user. Multiple spatial devices such as curtains and sliding doors are also play an important role in this flexible system.