sleeve house

This house is conceived diagrammatically as two intersecting volumes, a smaller one sleeved into a larger one. The sleeve diagram was chosen because it contains potentials to challenge disciplinary ideas about how to treat domestic interiors vs. exteriors. Surfaces and edges running from the outside to the inside of the sleeve present an opportunity rethink interiors and exteriors spatially and materially.

 sleeve studies

Spatially, the sleeve sets up three conditions: outside the outside, inside the outside (or outside the inside), and inside the inside. The final configuration of the sleeve is a larger outer volume containing public spaces of the house and a smaller inner volume containing private spaces. In between the two volumes, a variety of interior spaces are created: intimate spaces for cooking, dining, and living; a tall, thin vertical slice for circulation; and a dramatic entry gallery oriented toward views of the surrounding countryside. Removing space from between the upper sides of the inner and outer volumes creates a cut-out for a roof terrace. Space below the inner volume as it projects beyond the outer is used as a covered parking area.

 sleeve studies

upper level plan

lower level plan

Materially, the outside of both volumes is fully wrapped (top, bottom, and long sides) by weathered cedar boards.  This cedar skin, along with raw concrete wall and floors, runs continuously from outside the outside to inside the inside the outside.  Materials inside the inside are softer and more intimate. 

 cross section

Located in the Hudson Valley, approximately two hours north of New York City, the house is an all-season weekend destination for a professional couple residing primarily in the city. The site is an open, rolling hillside and the house is designed to enhance the experience of the surrounding landscape from its outside and inside.

The cedar skin gives the house a rough, weathered texture, a contemporary reinterpretation of old barns in the Hudson Valley. Boards of varying thickness and depth are placed alternately flat and on-end to give the facades depth and pattern. The on-end boards run continuously as screens over the windows on the long sides of the house to emphasize the simplicity of the sleeved volumes. Ends of both volumes are glass walls for maximum views.

 east elevation

 longitudinal sections

Project Team:
Adam Dayem, Farzam Yazdenseta
Structural Engineer:
Lorne Dawes

sleeve house construction




drawing futures

The Arrested Image (redrawn)

At the conclusion of his book, The Projective Cast, Robin Evans formulates a diagram titled “The Arrested Image”.  The aim of this diagram is “to define the different fields of projective transmission that concern architecture.”  For Evans, projection is the transfer of information from one repository of knowledge to another.  The diagram describes four repositories of knowledge: orthographic projection drawings, perspective drawings and images, the designed object, and the human designer or observer (which is further subdivided into perception and imagination).  Each of these four repositories projects information to, and receives it from, the other three.  Design is thus described as a process of continuous informational exchange between the four repositories.  Information does not travel smoothly through the network; each type of projection contains some level of contamination or distortion, and the direction in which information travels matters.

“The Arrested Image” shows how architectural design works as an expanded set of dynamics in which drawing has historically played a pivotal role.  In order to make assertions regarding how drawing functions in a contemporary design environment, and claim for it potential futures, the diagram has been updated.  There are four structural differences in this new version.  First, the ‘perspective’ is replaced with the ‘model,’ this is assumed to be a three-dimensional digital model.  Second, a new repository of knowledge, ‘external resources’ has been added.  This includes information in the categories of software operations, parametric inputs, algorithms, and other data used to systematically inform design.  The ‘external resources’ node has been placed across the thresholds of imagination and perception because it becomes integral to how design potentials are imagined and perceived.  It has been placed behind the threshold of observation because it becomes a filter through which the designer observes other parts of the design network.  Effective incorporation of external resources creates a hybrid human/non-human designing and observing apparatus.  Projections between the human designer, design instruments, and the design remain; though they are considered to be of secondary importance.  Third, the model (previously the perspective) and the design (previously the designed object) are more closely related than before.  As digital models become increasingly comprehensive representations of buildings, and digital fabrication tools reduce the significance of type 5 projection lines, the model is becoming more like the design.  Fourth, models and drawings are more closely related than before, but deliberately held apart.  Digital tools tend to conflate drawings and models; two-dimensional drawings can easily be extracted from three-dimensional models, and information from two-dimensional drawings can feed directly into three-dimensional models.  While acknowledging this relationship, a clear distinction between drawings and models preserves a speculative, abstracted arena where more unpredictable explorations can unfold.

Full text published on suckerPUNCH and in Fresh Punches

pavilion 2113

Brandon Terry

Speculating on what the future will hold 100 years out is always a risky proposition. Though it seems the acceleration of technological evolution is also making it increasingly risky not to do so, particularly for a slow-moving discipline (architecture) concerned with the production of long-lasting artifacts (buildings). With this in mind, the proposition of the studio was to design a pavilion in downtown Troy, NY for the year 2113. The focus of future-oriented thinking was not as much on the future of building materials and technology, as on the future of culture and the augmented human body envisioned in the writings of Ray Kurzwiel.

 Haley Hahn

Spatial investigations were derived from one of the three space filling three-dimensional tessellations: cubes, dodecahedrons, or a combination of octahedrons and tetrahedrons. Multi-scalar tessellations were put through iterative transformations calibrated to introduce a level of roughness, or unpredictability to the overall assembly. Overlapping geometry allowed solid difference operations to cut out interior spaces and to perforate thickened surfaces. A series of transformational experiments finally lead to pavilion designs with varied interior spaces and particular attitudes to the urban site.

 Melissa Donnely

solid bodies

plan with shells open

Solid Bodies is a design for a temporary pavilion located on a flat, open urban site.  The project proposes that innovative form-making can help catalyze and intensify a series of summer events, and in so doing solidify potentials for more permanent cultural programs to be introduced to the site. The pavilion is generated from a set of iteratively transformed solid geometric bodies. Differences and intersections of these bodies are hollowed out to create arch and shell components.

assembly of rhombic dodecahedra
 solid differences

 solid intersections

The geometry of the pavilion is produced from three adjacent rhombic dodecahedra, which each undergo 10 iterative transformations. Tessellated rhombic dodecahedra fill three-dimensional space without gaps, but as they are transformed they produce overlaps. These overlaps, referenced by Boolean intersections and differences are used to create the base units of the pavilion. Boolean intersections become the shell components. Boolean differences become the enclosing arch components. The differences and intersections are mirrored about their main organizational axis, creating bilateral symmetry in the pavilion.  
 view from bandstand toward pavilion

 interior view towards bandstand

The arch components create shaded interior zones and provide integrated seating within the main body of the pavilion. They remain stationary in the transition between opening and closing the pavilion. The shell components are mobile. When the pavilion is open, they roll out on locking casters, exposing brightly colored interior surfaces. Two shell components on the front side of the pavilion contain integrated seating and are used to define a zone for food service. Shells on the north and south sides also contain integrated seating and help define a performance zone around a bandstand. The single large shell at the rear of the pavilion is the bandstand itself.

side elevation with shells open

front elevation with shells closed
 pavilion with shells open
pavilion with shells closed

During non-opening hours the pavilion rests as a series of dark, interlocked, crystalline forms with a mysterious pattern etched into its surfaces. In this state, all components of the pavilion fit into a compact space. The alien nature of the form is intended to arouse curiosity regarding its purpose, and this curiosity can be leveraged in promoting the event series it is intended to house.

 arch component

The shell and arch components are constructed by unfolding geometry flat and cutting the resulting panels from 5’x10’x1” MDF sheets.   These sheets are a standard size and can be cut on a standard 3-axis CNC mill.  Structural rigidity within each component is created along its fold lines.  There are two types of toothed joints in the panels, one at folds in the geometry, and another where panels must be spliced together.

 unfolded panels

 detail of toothed fold joint

All angled joints can be accomplished with vertical cuts into flat panel material. Edges of adjacent components are held back from one another ensuring that there are no oblique points of contact.  Rotation of any single joint is resisted by the folded nature of the structure.

new atlantis (a city for voluntary exlies)


A number of small low-lying island nation-states in the South Pacific are undergoing a slow but inevitable process of being inundated by rising oceans. Their lands are disappearing and their cultures will die. One state in particular, Kiribati (pop. 103,000), has made a vocal plea for survival on the world stage. At the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, made this appeal to the assembly:

Climate change is indeed the greatest moral challenge of our time. I fear that our children and grandchildren will look back and ask, ‘How is it that they knew what they knew, and yet did so little?’ We simply cannot afford the consequences of inaction. The people of my country are already feeling the impacts of climate change, which will only worsen with time. We, together with those of other low lying states, are the human face of climate change.

Kiribati location map and international shipping lanes

Tarawa Atoll - blue dot indicates project site

Kiribati’s per capita carbon-dioxide emissions are approximately one-twentieth of China’s, one twentieth of the European Union’s, and one-fiftieth of the United States. Despite the fact the Tong and others have framed the problem of climate change in moral terms, worldwide carbon-dioxide emissions increased by 5% in 2011. The Kiribati government has acknowledged the reality of this situation by beginning to prepare its citizens for life as climate change refugees. A number of vocational training programs have been instituted to provide I-Kiribati with specialized skills for work in countries such as Australia and New Zealand. 
east - west section

New Atlantis

The year is 2100 and what was once called the nation of Kiribati is gone, its chains of low-lying islands have been completely submerged by the Pacific Ocean. Many I-Kiribati and their descendants have dispersed to Australia where they work in the health care industry or to New Zealand where they work as maritime shipping specialists. In these host nations, the I-Kiribati have become diffused. As a result, their culture and language has nearly died.

But rather than letting their culture become a myth of the lost like Atlantis, other I-Kiribati have refused to become refugees of climate change and elected to remain in place, at least geographically. They now live in a vertical city situated in the open ocean. The city is in shallow water directly above what used to be South Tarawa, the ex-capital of Kiribati on Tarawa Atoll. The city’s foundations are anchored into the earth, which is now approximately 20 feet underwater. It is an elaborate structure paid for through donations from the Chinese government, which in 2050, (rather than enforcing carbon reduction measures) chose to alleviate national guilt by donating billions of Yuan to island nations that were disappearing under rising oceans. 

plan - level +480' 

The ex-I-Kiribati living in the city of New Atlantis consider themselves exiles. They have been given an elaborate vertical structure that is largely self-sustaining and in some ways quite comfortable. But they have all lost their homes and culture, many have also lost their families. Politically, the city resides in a grey zone. The Kiribati state is no longer recognized by the United Nations, and New Atlantis is a city-state that operates outside normal international political and economic boundaries. As a result, the ex-I-Kiribati share their city with other voluntary exiles such as Eastern European digital pirates, American eco-terrorists, and escaped Chinese political prisoners.

Physically, the city is isolated, far from any significant landmass, cut-off from jet travel, and even distanced from trans-pacific shipping lanes. But digitally it is as networked as any metropolitan high-rise building. As such, it has become significant base of operations for politically and economically grey activities.

plan - level +270'   

 plan - level +710'  

Building Description

Structure: Two sets of twisting vertical elements intertwine with each other. One set holds the floorplates, contains the residential spaces, and is skinned with translucent lexan. The other set, which works as the primary vertical building structure, contains the circulation cores and is constructed from lightweight fiber reinforced concrete. The horizontal arms of the city, which spread over the water, are floating aluminum and lexan structures. Floatation allows the arms to absorb energy of waves in the water and for the city to adapt to continually rising sea levels.

The structure is organized by two sets of 8 twisting tubular elements which form both the vertical and horizontal components of the building.  These 16 (8+8) tubular elements are dupilacted and mirrored about a central axis creating 32 (16+16) tubular elements in total.  One set of twisted tubes houses the inhabitable spaces, the other houses circulation and service cores.  The two sets are intertwined with each other, and as they transform along the length of the building, a number of different spatial organizations emerge.

 paired / mirrored floorplates and organizing curves

Climate: The building does not incorporate a traditional climate control system, as this would over-tax the building’s energy generation capacity, and it is not necessary the warm South Pacific climate. Most of the structure’s interior spaces are only partially enclosed; wind and rain infiltration is accepted and even welcome.

There are two vertical lifts that run curving routes up though the building. These are generally used only for service because their operation strains the building’s energy supply. Vertical circulation is primarily accomplished by walking up and down stairs. Commuting from the residential zone to the lower levels, especially when carrying food, is arduous, but a normal part of life in the city. Because of the effort it takes to circulate vertically, it is usually not done more than once a day. As a result, large-group gathering and meeting spaces are scattered vertically throughout the building.

 windbelt energy generation diagram

Energy: The building generates its own energy with windbelt technology. The windbelt is a taut band held in place by a carbon-fiber frame. The windbelts are gathered into bundles that sprout from the upper reaches of the tower like hair. The building’s battery system stores electricity when winds are high, and this surplus is usually enough to power essential systems during periods of low winds. But the city survives by being frugal with its power. Energy priorities go first to water desalination and second to computing equipment.

saltwater greenhouse diagram

Food: Many residents of the city are excellent fisherman. The city’s floating horizontal arms are used as boat docks and seafood processing areas. The horizontal arms also house saltwater greenhouses and desalination units.

The city supplements food, drink, and other essential and non-essential material supplies (black market, grey market, or otherwise) with periodic boat shipments form the mainland. Many of the city’s residents are quite wealthy, but collectively they elect to minimize physical contact with the outside world.
 north / south elevation

Project developed with assistance from Kangsan Danny Kim.