Stacked Garden Complex
University at Buffalo
Critic: Jin Young Song
Partner : Cody Cot
The driving forces of cities arise from collective energy, which might be social, economic, political and environmental energy with increased urban density as a key to ecological sustainability. Because of its collective character, one of the challenges of the city is the balance between public and private realms, an issue that becomes central in the design of urban housing.
The "Stacked Garden Complex" focuses on urban dwelling as a threshold between self and society, between local and the global, and between nature and culture. Instead of thinking of these conditions as opposites, they can be understood as symbiotic states of being whose relationship, or balance, changes at different scales – from room to dwelling, building, neighborhood, city and natural environment.
The "Stacked Garden Complex" is a social housing complex designed to be located on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, NY. The design is based upon two simple concepts: an inviting public program on the ground floor, and the strategic stacking of residential programs through rotation and overlay, ultimately creating a continuous private roof garden.
The public program located on the ground floor of the "Stacked Garden Complex" is a public library, which has a triangular shaped open plaza that attracts public attention. The open plaza also acts as a divider, separating the library from the busy streets. Openness and form of the plaza evokes curiosity of the public to enter the library, and discover the programs and facilities within the library.
Conceptually, public libraries are inviting to the public, and encourages people to spend time inside the designed space, which fits well with the design concept of the "Stacked Garden Complex". Public libraries also act as a communal center for neighborhoods which help people without access to computers find jobs and governmental benefits. Recent research states that having a library within an area will enhance a sense community and increase the knowledge of surrounding people.
The residential programs for the "Stacked Garden Complex" are all connected to the private roof gardens formed from stacking. The Purpose of having roof garden is to provide a healthier living environment for the residents; therefore, almost all residential units are assigned with individual garden spaces. The roof garden not only provides a nice and comfortable environment for the residents to congregate with their friends and families, it also provides spaces for health and recreation. The fundamental design purpose of the roof garden is to encourage residents to exercise and socialize, thus providing a salubrious and balanced lifestyle.
Stacked garden concept and library form diagram