Student Work

  • Architecture (MArch)

    Barbara Becker

    Manhattan Ville

    The housing projects were done under the courageous believe that the architect could solve social issues by design. There was an utopian attempt in this gesture, which was full of hope and confidence on the architect. This utopia was a critical position towards the existing reality. Not seen as an impossible dream, but as a tangible experimentation encored on real dynamics of a political, social and economical process.

    Built to erase the slums, the housing projects were meant to provide sun, air and light into the apartments. Proposed in a time that cities were dangerous and dirty places; where streets were not a desirable place to be. The tower within a park was an attempt to dissolve the city, it was an anti-street manifest that minimized the building/ground relationship.

    There is a reversed new utopia of cities being desirable and valuable places. Using Manhattanville housing as object of study my question is: How to expand the possibilities of the contemporary city at the ground level maintaining the achievements of healthy living on the towers?

    This intervention amplifies the contact surface of the building with the ground in order to explore the potential of a urban condition that both feeds and generates activities inside the buildings. The strategy shifts between scales, generated from a human/small scale and exploding throughout the site. Aiming to convert the anti-city tower within a park typology into a manifest for an alive urban context.

    The consequence of the design will promote economical, social and cultural activities at the ground along with the benefits of light and air into the housing apartments. It will also bring financial support to the towers, allowing it’s affordability to be preserved; and revisit the naive and courageous effort of utopian architects position that made the housing projects possible.