Core Architecture Studio III
Living In-Between
Living Armatures, Living Rooms
The Home Unbound
Housing, Complete and Incomplete
Breeze : Way
White Walls, White Forms, Forms of Whiteness
Housing, Stacking, Acoustics
Housing Sharing Again
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Core Architecture Studio III

States of Housing

Housing, as a design studio, is the last semester within the required series of Core Studios. It serves as a conclusion to the core sequence, as well as a transition to the Advanced Studios and specifically building up to the Advanced Studio IV: Scales of Environment. While the studio is structured to present knowledge about the fundamentals of architecture as it applies to designing housing projects, the studio aims to inspire a shift in thinking about architecture in relation to the world at large. There is perhaps nowhere better to study housing than at Columbia GSAPP with its nearly 40-year history of offering housing studios focused on the deeply rich history of New York City. So, while this term, the studio focused on a select site within the Bronx, the studio continually thinks beyond the familiar—reaching globally, never out of touch with the Advanced Studios. While the Core Studios are structured sequentially, housing, because of its unique placement within the sequence, is also situated to absorb and be influenced by research in the advanced studios, while at the same serving to produce serious thinkers and designers about design through the problem of housing types.

The Fall 2020 studio was structured through four assignments: documentation of a lived experience, policy research, urban and typological analysis of a residential building, and the design of a New York City-based housing project. The studio focused on the many different states of housing that architects typically encounter in practice. It was organized through two principal means: research/analysis and an architectural proposition. The studio operated as a laboratory for exploring new possibilities for urban living in the South Bronx’s Melrose neighborhood. Throughout the term, each student examined the significance of collective housing and approached design through four lenses: health, race, social, and environmental justice. This work recognized systemic injustices and their intersection with design practices in housing and associated public spaces and proposed new futures. Developed through teams, the proposals creatively challenge the status quo and assumptions about housing. The work highlighted below is relentlessly empathetic and imaginative in creating artistic, healthy housing.

Living In-Between
In social, spatial, and political terms, we are occupying a threshold between worlds. This studio explored the conceptual, formal, and programmatic dimensions of threshold as they interlace with architectural and urbanistic considerations of multi-family dwelling. It encouraged a rigorous and speculative design lens on the project as students worked between a real site, critical history, and an imagined future that offers something more than our present. Working collaboratively in pairs, experimentally between fact and fiction, plan and section, present and future, and iteratively through drawings and both digital and physical models, students developed spatially and conceptually robust and provocative architectural proposals for collective housing.
Students: Henry Black, Claire Xuanyi Chen, Xiucong Han, Gizem Karagoz, Jules Kleitman, Jo Hee Lee, Jui Yu Bianca Lin, Yang Lu, Camille Newton, Lucia Song, Nash Taylor, Alexis Hao Zheng
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The scheme creates safe, interconnected, micro-communities for a neighborhood lacking collective activity space. Addressing thresholds between the individual and collective, localized amenities introduce connect vertical cores; extending the resident’s daily activities throughout the building. Localized amenities create a network throughout, linking apartments, cores, courtyards, rooftop terraces, and other distributed amenities.
This project explores the relationship between private and public space through the programmatic implications of housing and civic spaces. Using platonic forms of the circle and square, the voidscape creates an interplay between both the public and private realms and thus creates safety and opportunities for light.
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The Binary House
This project aims to provide affordable housing and various art-oriented services to local artist...
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Micro-Macro Community
Micro-Macro Community challenges existing metrics of housing value to introduce a holistic framew...
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Supercore: Co-Living in Thresholds
Born from an ethnographic study of Melrose’s edges, the Supercore subverts traditional real...
The Courtyards
This project emphasizes a courtyard experience through three spatial types: units, internal court...
Living Armatures, Living Rooms
This studio grounded a broad and heterogeneous notion of housing as everything within a constrained architectural focus on two interrelated components of housing: rooms and armatures. Following on two previous studios dedicated to the room as a physical and social construct, students mined its potential to produce new forms of domesticity and collectivities in architecture. As a corollary to the room, they also focused on armatures–here defined as frameworks that structure physical and non-physical relationships. Through this dual focus on rooms and armatures, they bypassed the apartment as housing’s irreducible “unit”. After initial studies, students ultimately chose to focus on one or the other.
Students: Andrew Magnus, Alyna Karachiwala, Sixuan Chen, Novak Djogo, Chuqi Huang, Jiafeng Li, Peicong Zhang, Joyce Zhou, Yi Liang, Alexa Greene, Duo Xu, Estefania Serrano Soto
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This housing project articulates ‘room’ across scale, from city to building, to unit, to architectural element, to furniture, to body. Located in South Bronx, NY, with the need for internalized protected open space for children in the neighborhood, this project aims to unlock the interstitial spaces on the site and give them back to the community. Through both carving in and aggregating out, the project seeks duality of difference versus consistency, diversity versus efficiency, variation versus repetition.
An rendering of a large white building that curves into the ground plane. Vegetation is dispersed across the exterior.
ONE community responds to demographic diversity, proposing various living conditions while maintaining a cohesive community. Melrose, South Bronx, is very diverse in household composition, languages spoken, and age—both senior housings and public schools populate a lot here. However, the neighborhood lacks safe street life for kids and senior citizens. We tried to address the issue by varying living choices and outdoor space in different scales and levels while maintaining community cohesiveness. Our design approach started from two completely different living conditions—a tower and a plinth. The differences are coordinated under the continuous surface from the tower’s south facade to the plinth’s roof. Under the consistency lies various unit choices, from a townhouse to a co-living cluster, from a single studio to a double-height unit. Shared programs are subtracted from the mass to provide accessible outdoor space for all of the units within their diameter. Despite the high density on-site, a wide range of community life parallels domestic life.
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Generational Bridge Housing
The Generational Bridge proposes a hybrid typology for housing meant to enrich the lives of local...
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Expandable Living
This project is a multifamily affordable housing building that addresses the economic and demogra...
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Branched Housing
Branched Housing, located in the South Bronx, aims to provide a more sustainable form of affordab...
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Sharing as Armature
In this project, co-living housing units are designed to help relatively vulnerable single-mother...
The Home Unbound
The idea of home has changed. The separation between home, work, and play has dissolved into an undifferentiated continuum not seen since preindustrial times. Embracing this collapse of boundaries and definitions, the studio explored the spaces where the city ends and the home begins. This is a new territory of the domestic where students rethought, reconsidered, and reimagined what the home is, what housing can be, and how we live in cities. The studio asked students to design housing for an expanded home life that could offer new possibilities for living in spaces characterized by contradictions.
Students: Johane Clermont, Alya Abourezk, Anays Gonzalez Sanchez, Meissane Aude Kouassi, Gustavo Lopez Mendoza, Stephanie McMorran, Keneilwe Ramaphosa, Reem Makkawi, Ryan Hansen
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The hip hop movement started in the Bronx during the 70’s and acted as a way for the youth to exchange anecdotes rooted around the wretched spatial and social realities of their neighborhoods. This collective narrative was the common ground on which the hip hop community and culture formed. Our proposal is inspired by this cultural movement and aims to amplify the spirit of hip hop as an art form created in diametric response to architectural failures in planning and housing practices in the Bronx. The Podium is the common ground on which people come together and acts a stage for collective expression. Through the creation of inclusive mixed use housing and cultural incubators for local artists of all styles and genres, this project aims to strengthen the surrounding community and encourage the local youths to invest and engage in the future of the Bronx.
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The culture and architecture of the South Bronx is fueled by its tumultuous history and shaped by the individual efforts of its community members. The tradition of good work on the block has led the neighborhood’s progress and crafted a culture of pride and resilience. Building on the Block is for the community advocates of Melrose who seek the betterment of their surroundings—a community of all ages who are willing to become active participants of their own built environment. Through this facility, residents have the means to take on ownership of the Block and, through its furtherance, participate in an experience of inheritance, restoration, and development.
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Collected Stories
Addressing the needs of the Melrose community requires a focus on small-scale connections, both f...
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Building on the Block
The culture and architecture of the South Bronx is fueled by its tumultuous history and shaped by...
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Symbiosis is a housing project conceived as a support system for two vulnerable populations: sing...
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The Podium
The hip hop movement started in the Bronx during the 70’s and acted as a way for the youth to exc...
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A Home for Rest and Growth
The Bronx single mother is a one person army. From a low income with multiple shift jobs to child...
Housing, Complete and Incomplete
The future of the home (and urban housing) is uncertain. This uncertainty, coupled with a historical understanding of how housing has changed, begs the question, what are the essential components of housing? Although regulations and codes define minimum standards for elements such as daylight, ventilation, space, and energy performance, other elements that we often take for granted, like closets, are not necessarily mandated. During the pandemic of 2020, our domestic spaces have taken on new obligations and roles, acting more and more as the simultaneous realm of work, schooling, and childcare. On the other hand, the studio also investigated contemporary models of “incomplete” housing that provide open frameworks for residents to modify and adapt to their domestic environments. Through a series of proposals, students have investigated what housing can be reduced to, or what elements should now be considered essential for housing to be complete.
Students: Ryan Alexander, Nayef Alsabhan, Nikolas Bentel, Livia Calari, Sonny Han, Cara DePippo, Yiheng Lin, Yumeng Liu, Aditi Mangesh Shetye, Asher McGlothlin, Adam Vosburgh, Thanapon Wongsanguan
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Home/Work is a new typology of housing, which provides a truly flexible space for the varying work/life needs of its occupants. Each unit consists of a thickened floor assembly consisting of an agglomeration of expanded mechanical systems, resolved in a series of skinny towers housing units where living and working can coalesce.
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By providing an empty apartment shell that is built out by residents to fit their unique lifestyles, Melrose Mews challenges conventional models that come with a fixed number of bedrooms and reinforce normative household structures. Shared winter gardens, common rooms, and courtyards enhance neighborliness and create a sense of community.
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Narrow Housing
Narrow housing explores the potential of the hallway, often a space determined by efficiency, to ...
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The Amorphous Family Unit
By working with and embracing the amorphous and incomplete nature of our site and inhabitants, Th...
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Co-Living in the Age of Covid-19
This project explores the building as an open system that allows different modes of living to be ...
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The Space Between
The Space Between fosters a sense of community by utilizing a stepped terrace system that allows ...
Breeze : Way
This studio engaged natural ventilation strategies and site forces to shape building massing, unitization, fenestration, and materiality. It took inspiration from the hall, where social interaction and shared programs can foster a sense of community, and from the loggia as a mediating space between inside and outside, public and private. Students thought deeply about the “service” spaces of a building, where circulation occurs, and where the air is distributed, and questioned how such spaces could be rethought via environment and health. Students amplified, reestablished, or disintegrated the corridor. The space of air shaped each proposal.
Students: Andres Alvarez Davila, Ethan Davis, Benjamin Fox, Qing Hou, Farouk Kwaning, Karan Matta, Zakios Meghrouni-Brown, Yuchen Qiu, Allison Shahidi, Bisher Tabbaa, Yong Yeob Kim, Hao Zhong
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Responding to the lack of access to fresh air and inadequate public resources in the Melrose neighborhood—which causes a significantly higher rate of respiratory illness and substandard living condition—The Loop rethinks the concept of air/ void and uses it as the central organizational device and a public resource carrier in residential design. It prioritizes human health and experience by giving presence to the ethereal material of air. The space of air becomes the main vessel for enhancing health and community life.
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The goal of our project is to create a building that wraps itself around the space of air. The atmosphere carves through the building instead of the building carving through the atmosphere and thus the building becomes defined by the air and light that move through it. It attempts to fold the atmosphere into the building, and cradle it in a network of volumes and pockets that stretch throughout the building.
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Melrose Carve
Our housing project introduces a sculptural carve into the fabric of the city block that mediates...
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Melrose Community Filter: Forest Way
This housing scheme confronts the challenge of severe air pollution in the South Bronx Melrose co...
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Thermal Autonomy
Reconsideration of the limited understanding of comfort is necessary. Thermal Autonomy challenges...
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Tree Housing
The driving concept tackles the theme of breezeways and air. Filtration through vegetation is uti...
White Walls, White Forms, Forms of Whiteness
The studio investigated forms of whiteness within the design of modernist housing and uncover liberatory spatial practices in consideration of “domestic situations” and the performance of domesticity. For, the design of housing is much more than the enactment social legislation, policy, and equally more than the disciplining of rules of order and typologies intended to make otherwise errant and disobedient subjectivities and identities. The studio considered the places and spaces where these bodies dwell to consider the movement and physicality as well as its functions, constructs, and identity within its socio-political, cultural, and technological contexts. These parameters have become increasingly fluid and thus result in questions of the very definitions of “domestic” and “domesticity” as relating to the idea of home, household, and housing.
Students: Osvaldo Delbrey, Gene Han, Jean Kim, Maxim Kolbowski-Frampton, Shuhan Liu, Jordan Readyhough, Kylie Walker, Karen Wan Jia Chen
Inhabiting the Grey imbricates the presence of the unseen/unacknowledged/unrepresented, Modernism’s non-ideal subject, in space and time. The White Man’s Gaze frames the daily rituals of work, rest, and leisure into a conventional time frame revolving around the 9-5 work schedule. This datum in time programs spaces to function at specific moments excluding anyone outside of this time frame. There are moments of overlap in space and time between the presence of the marked and unmarked bodies, a gray space, an in-between, a buffer. Imbricating the presence of the marked bodies in this gray space recognizes, without displaying, the marginalized, creating a space to practice liberty, a space of liberation.
Intermediate Dwelling
Intermediate Dwelling questions the common public/private relationship in modern housing designs....
Re-centering the Kitchen
The housing project is a revaluation of domestic labor through the recentering of the kitchen. Th...
Housing, Stacking, Acoustics
This studio explored how sound contributes to the design of healthy housing in a variety of households and the immediate community of a city block in the South Bronx’s Melrose. There are many criteria for creating a healthy domicile, and form-making around audio reveals that the invisible produces the most visible effects on the body and mind of an individual and a collective. The studio explored how to create artistic and healthy housing through thoughtful applications of form and materials.
Students: Henderson Beck, Jonathan Chester, Adeline Chum, Benjamin Diller-Schatz, Max Goldner, Jiageng Guo, Jinseon Noh, Hannah Stollery, John Trujillo, Daniel Vanderhorst
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Units of Care calls for affordable housing that provides care through every scale and program. Along with minimal site demolition, Units of Care reimagines ground floor programming to render maintenance as visible and important, enable access to sites of repair, and reconstitute resiliency by amplifying existing community support networks.
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This design investigates stoop culture in the Bronx and aims to bring elements of that life into the public spaces of the project.
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Melrow Housing
Melrow Housing examines the clustering of row house-inspired units, which are creating porosity w...
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This project explores the synthetic part-to-whole relationship through the aggregation of differi...
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The Cleff
By layering noise across an array of units and providing residents control over the degree to whi...
Housing Sharing Again
Everything has changed. And it will change again. After tuberculosis, rooms became whiter, furniture lighter, windows bigger, and people kissed again. After 9/11, skyscrapers got built again. More skyscrapers were built after 2001 than before. After COVID, we will share in rooms again. Being with others will become even more precious. Our society is increasingly immaterial. Before COVID, we started to shift from printed money and into codified transactions, away from industrial production and into web economies. Yet, pulling resources, holding arms, taking to the streets remain the way to overcome together what cannot be accomplished alone. This studio viewed extreme inequality as an obstacle to a forward society. Students’ housing proposals aimed at new hybrids that negotiated landscape and interiority with access to natural light, cross-ventilation, and outdoor space. They designed medium-density, low-rise, environmentally sound, and financially sustainable developments, knowing that these qualities are hard to balance.
Students: Aya Abdallah, Agnes Anggada, Cohaul Chen, Ava Sierra Heckman, Takashi Honzawa, Minghan Lin, Danielle Nir, Mickaella Pharaon, Charul Punia, Kaeli Streeter, Hazel Villena, Muyu Wu
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If an apartment building’s amenity spaces are an afterthought during the design process, they’re going to feel like afterthoughts in someone’s life, too. As architects, we want to make a place where memories can be created, an innovative communal space setting will enhance the living experience of the residents and help them form bonds. The energy of a building filled with residents that are happy and excited to meet people is unique and unmistakable. It is something that can be encouraged with design. In an attempt to achieve this, we have created an urbanscape that has a contrasting architectural language.
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Through sharing at different scales: from a kitchen shared by multiple families, to the cascading roof landscape shared by all, the project creates a self-sustainable model of living and a more intimate relationship within the community.
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Living Cores
Living Cores is a medium-density mass, timber housing project located in the South Bronx. This pr...
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Courtyard Dialogues
Housing now, more than ever, requires added access to the outdoors. Our project tackles this curr...
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Gradient of Space
Gradient of Spaces is a housing community that facilitates (re)integration into society. For a sp...
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Welcome to Melrose
Welcome to Suburbia: privacy and autonomy from the external; reliance and support from the intern...