THE BLOCKS: Rooftop Stadium for an Urban Neighborhood
How can a structure simultaneously serve as a world-class stadium and quality housing?
Project Year: 2018
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Project Size: 3.8 million Square Feet
Team: Shuang Bao, Braham Berg, Yueqi Li, Nan Wei,
Rooted in the context of Brooklyn and inspired by the prototypical New York courtyard residential block, THE BLOCKS creates a 60,000 seat stadium while providing 3,064 affordable to middle income units.
THE BLOCKS extends the primary streets of Williamsburg across twelve city blocks. These newly created blocks anchor the stadium, provide ideal street level circulation, and orient the field optimally with an angle roughly equal to the direction of the sun at half time in an afternoon game. The volume and roof pitch of each housing block is calibrated to augment views for every tiered stand around the elevated soccer field, under which spaces for teams and back of house are arranged. The rooftop space of each building are designed to include a concourse, stadium seating, as well as lounges and media spaces. For both spectators and players alike, the voids between the blocks and the high rooftop seats offer intriguing framed views of neighborhood landmarks, the east river, and the Manhattan skyline.
The siting of the stadium blocks relative to the street grids enable three plazas of different sizes and characters to be created. The east plaza is shared with the newly renovated McCarren Park Pool. The north and west plazas become landscape amenities for the Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighborhoods beyond. Thanks to the five streets that cut through the stadium, circulation and entries are organized to allow stadium and residential occupancy to function separately but simultaenously. Along with the perimeter plazas, the newly extended N 13th through 15th streets run east west offer entry points to the rooftop stadium. All residential and retail entries are primarily located off of north south running Bedford Avenue and Driggs Avenue.
The residential portion of the project coexists with the stadium. As a result of the varied volumes of the blocks, the residences range from three-story townhouses closest to the field to twelve-story apartment buildings at the perimeter. Except for the two blocks closest to the field, all ten outer blocks employ a courtyard strategy that provides each residence with access to light, air, and tree lined views.
One of the biggest issues that plague large purpose built venues is that the use for such structures diminish significantly after the event is over. The BLOCKS solve this problem by being the first building that functions simultaneously as housing and a stadium. When the World Cup departs, The BLOCKS is imagined to be used recreationally by neighboring residents and nearby schools as a football stadium. In addition, each one of the 12 rooftops can also be adapted to hold individual events such as theater performances and familial gatherings.
Can a remote wilderness lodge serve as both a destination and a memorable passage?
Designed with a singular gesture, the “long lodge” is a bold yet understated ode to simplicity and sustainability. Housed under one sweeping roof, the lodge is divided into two wings – Living and Sleeping – and joined by a void, through which the “Caribou Pond Trail” passes and connects with the Appalachian Trail. This void not only serves as the gathering porch with a framed view but it also celebrates the arrival from either end on the trail. As visitors approach the lodge, the long broad side gradually reveals itself as the elongated bar form welcomes all with gently open arms.
Location Maine, USA
Size 10,500 SF
Responding to the primarily north-facing terrain near the caribou pond, the long lodge is positioned on a north-south axis; this protects the lodge from winter westerlies while its broadside captures the wonderful view and direct morning light. The Library and Classroom enjoy southern light all day. Nearby, a utility road offers back of house access to the lodge. Minimal trees are to be removed for the construction. The elegant horizontality of the lodge, punctured by the verticality of native pines, bring to mind the pairing of the most fundamental forms.
Approach From Trail
Main Dining Space
An upside down glulam timber truss provides a single roof pitch outside but two opposing slopes inside. The truss makes for an efficient use of material as well as providing flexibility for employing other building systems. As the building pinches in the middle and fans out towards the ends, these trusses ccommodate varying spans of 25’ -60’. Each truss is supported by a series of posts and beams near their ends and a CLT panel in the middle that does the heavy lifting. The trusses and panels are on a 4’ module which forms a thick wall inside the Living Wing, effortlessly defining various functions and activities. The rhythm of the timber panels encompasses benches, booths, bookshelves, doorways, and closets, allowing the living spaces – big or small – to flow seamlessly into each other. The Sleeping Wing utilizes the same CLT panels to efficiently define rooms of various sizes. In a communal spirit, there are no dedicated corridors to rooms. Instead, the individual niche porches outside each room - a result of a series of partition walls - compose the corridor, with the same fantastic view downhill.
Among many precious courtyards in the Historic Baitasi District, Courtyard C-3 has a special character and siting. Thourgh our proposed adaptive reuse, we aim to provide not only a quality private space for the owners but also enhance the public realm by returning a common courtyard to the neighborhood.
Through research, we found that the courtard no long holds its form due to decades of illegal construction while the empty space to the east suffers from the same kind of neglect. We were impressed by the courtyard voids that once existed in Baitasi but also quite fascinated by the lively neighborhood life today. So asked: How can one restore the original small courtyard, while allowing new life and program to breath in and welcoming the public?
We imagined two young couples as the owners of this courtyard: one couple who wishes to open a tea house, and the other who wishes to have thier own artist studio with temporary event space. By shifting half the the floor area down to below grade, we create two clear volumes that are connected by a stair core. This creates a U shaped plan that not only introduces a private sunken courtyard below, but also by virtue of a visual connection, creates a public space at grade that becomes a node in the neighborhood.
Current site with no real open space vs Proposed intervention that creates two courtyards
Formally, we maintained the historic materiality and roofscape but introduced modern elements on the interior as well as the sunken courtyard. By maximizing the connection to nature, we greatly enhance both the utility as well as the aesthetics of the compact spaces, designed to accommodate a modern entreupreneurial way of life. The structure is composed of light gauge still and prefab SIP wall panels. This technology allows for ease of construction given the site constraints of the Hutong but also save more space for the interior thanks to thinker wall construction.
Baitasi Neighborhood Aerial, 1945 with visible courtyard texture throughout
Yueqi Jazzy Li
Korean National Museum Complex Masterplan
Team: Kyung-il Min, Yueqi Li, Mom Architects
Farms are beautiful as they are familiar to all, form dramatic landscapes, and most importantly they provide the essential harvest for nourishing our shared civilizations. In designing the masterplan for the National Museum Complex in Sejong, we find the farms in this part of South Korea stunningly inspirational. We believe architecture for such a significant museum complex should embody the same spirit as the beautiful farm lands: humane, organic, and authentic.
The masterplan design takes cues from the central park scheme and the natural grade change of nine meters to form a campus of small scale buildings integrated with the landscape. These modular buildings, appearing to rise gently along the natural slope, create a carpet pattern that defies any iconic stereotype. Instead, the careful placement of the massing and voids generate a wonderful human scaled village environment ideal for immersing oneself in art and culture. The modular museum buildings, based on a 9m by 30m inverted arch prefab concept, allows for infinite adaptability and organic growth over time.
The landscape plays an equally important part in our masterplan. A series of internal pathways cut through the land and serve as a network for pedestrian circulation. We sculptured the land so that it mitigates the 9m grade difference in various different sloped sections, creating a rich layer of intersections. The pathways, sometimes sunken, sometimes elevated, serve to not only connect different museums, but also to create a rich experience from various vintage points. The idea of a “museum mile,” borrowed from the famed New York City museum cluster, strings together the entire site through a north south pedestrian experience, with big atria, trellis, elevated bridges.
Material, craft, and light are fundamental to the making of a memorable architecture and urban design. In this proposal, we developed a material pallet that is rooted in the tradition of Korean architecture. Stone, concrete, wood, and brick are crafted together with planting and water features to form a warm and soothing environment. In the proposal museum complex, one finds similar qualities of the calming farm lands, tranquil rice fields, and fresh rain drops. Light is carefully introduced to softly light galleries, to cast articulate shadows, to render dappled daylight in outdoor plazas, to bring out the richness in authentic wood and stone pieces. As a result, this rich interplay between material and light give the masterplan timeless characters that are both historic yet contemporary, dynamic yet solemn, playful yet rhythmic.
We believe this proposal represents a 21st century approach to museum master planning - one that is blurring the boundary between architecture and landscape, between tradition and innovation, and most importantly between farm, village, and city.
Weihai Apartment Renovation
This is an independent interiors project finished in early 2018. The design of this two-bedroom seaside apartment aims to create a zen like relaxed environment for the contemporary home in China.
Utilizing more than 17,000 straws, the team led by Yueqi ‘Jazzy’ Li and Eric Baumgartner strung together a blurry architectural space that engages touch, sound, and sight. Twelve panels form two constantly moving curtain walls and fluidity the space in between. The transparency and lightness of the installation allows itself to play with sun, wind, and light conditions. The ephemeral project does not take any static visual, acoustical, or sensual form. Instead, the dematerialization of straws, characterized by porosity and local interconnectivity, creates what Stan Allen calls - ‘field conditions’ – which are defined not by overarching geometrical schemas but by intricate intervals, repetitions, and seriality. The project was awarded 1st place of the architects’ week competition.
Danaus is an installation created by the Digital Fabrication seminar at the Tulane School of Architecture (TSA) in the spring semester of 2011. The piece explores the classic relationship between form and function through a series of multifaceted transitions of complexity, density, and depth.
Inspired by the work of French artist George Rousse, the student designers created a red cube made out of thin fragmented pieces in the shape of a hexagon. After entering Richardson Memorial Hall, one is confronted with the complete perspective of the cube right at the door. As one steps in and walks up the stairs in the lobby, the perfect cube reveals itself in the fragmented composition and begins a morphological process towards the floor above. Starting from small 4-sided polygons on the cube, the voids gradually morph into 5 and 6-sided shapes, simultaneously growing in size while diminishing in spacing. The designers digitally scripted this reciprocal relationship between size and spacing to formulate another level of transition in the visual, namely from the subtractive to the additive, and further articulated it to allow Danaus a function that emerges out of its own form.
One finally arrives at the end of Danaus and realizes its programmatic use as shelves for school publications, pamphlets, and postcards, which formerly were left flat on the bench by the administrative office. These unique shelves vary widely in size and depth to accommodate different publications and reach 11” at the deepest. The very last one of them is articulated to be a perfect hexagon, referring back to the original cube and completing the morphological cycle.
House No.3 (day time)
House No.3 (night time)
Collaboration in the Sky
Transformable Architectural Machine for City Dwellers
This research project, carried out at Intermediate Unit 6 of the Architectural Association in London, proposes an alternative mode of life enabled by a system of transformable kit of parts for an emerging entrepreneurial social class in Shenzhen, China.
Sited directly on top of a metro station, the proposed project is integrated into the local infrastructure and serves as a node of public activities. Each apartment in the building consists of a live unit and a work unit that can easily be reconfigured with sliding elements depending on the specific use. An inventive circulation strategy facilitates the highly mixed use of programs: courtyards serve as the gateway to individual live units and linear corridors provide efficient access to work units. This coexistence of two systems enable a constant flux of movements throughout the entire building without undesirable crossovers. Because of the transformable spaces shared by each live and work unit, the proposed project is imagined to have a density 40 times the average in Shenzhen.