Current Columbia GSAPP students Alek Tomich and Nelson De Jesus Ubri in the Master of Architecture program are recipients of the 2019 John Notaro Memorial Scholarship. Awarded by the AIA New York State, the scholarship recognizes design excellence in the next generation of architecture practitioners.
Their project “Living with Less Waste” was created during the Fall 2019 Core III Housing Studio Acceleration led by faculty Daisy Ames.
Each day, New York City produces 33,000 tons of construction and demolition waste – doubling the daily trash thrown out by residents and businesses. This data compelled us to decide that older buildings do not have to come down for new buildings to go up.
The goal of this project was to improve light and air quality in existing buildings while providing new housing stock using construction techniques designed to densify and offset carbon emissions. We enhanced our site strategy by providing the infrastructure to deal with organic waste on-site in a closed-loop composting cycle.
By choosing to preserve and work within existing buildings, we saved 1,600 tons of solid waste from entering a landfill: equivalent to 54,431 metric tons of CO2 entering the atmosphere. Our approach included other tactics to reinforce our efforts to reduce waste on site: planted balconies, community gardens, green roofs, and mass timber construction, among others.
—Alek Tomich and Nelson de Jesus Ubri