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Future Medieval

Garbage Block

Concept

Project date
2012

Location
New York, NY

Designed for
Columbia University GSAPP: Duncan studio

In Collaboration with
Anastasia Tania

Type
Architecture

Future Medieval proposes a dense multi-purpose residential block for upper Manhattan. Located on a site next to a garbage collection center, the building is made from rammed earth embedded with old tires, cans, bottles and other waste that can be diverted from landfill.

Since extremely thick walls are required for structural integrity, the windows are carved into parabolic curves designed to focus and bounce light into the deeper areas of each housing unit. The curvature of the central courtyard functions in a similar manner, to bounce light into some of the lower internally-facing units meant for the elderly.

On the ground floor, the maze of thick walls can host a variety of programs from cafes, to auditoriums, work-spaces, shops, and more. Inspired by the courtyard typology in medieval cities like Paris, the block can become a thriving village within a city while its density of units helps keep it affordable for the neighborhood.