Proposal for a pop-up park near the Flatiron Building

In front of Manhattan’s Flatiron Building is an unused, triangular spit of land bordered by three major streets: Fifth Avenue, Broadway, and 23rd Street. Every day, thousands of pedestrians pass and cars through this highly visible intersection. This underutilized space with traffic on all sides could become a vibrant, public square. This park should reflect and respond to the dynamic and energetic neighborhood.
Pop-up Park creates a mixed-use public space that responds to users. Narrow metal panels measuring three by five meters roll out of a wedge-shaped storage container. Each panel serves a different function: bleachers, benches, bookshelf, public mural, basketball hoop, etc. When in use, the panels are alternated to adapt to multiple uses. When not in use, the panels slide back into their container, leaving an open communal space. The dimensions of each rectangular correspond to the geometrically perfect shape of the golden rectangle. This permits a functional yet aesthetically pleasing geometric composition to be incorporated into each panel. The park’s periphery is planted with trees to shade the communal area and to act as a visual buffer from the hectic city.

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urban park 1

urban park 2

Re-purpose shipping containers for affordable housing

Hundreds of thousands of shipping containers – each measuring eight feet wide by eight feet tall and between twenty and forty feet long – carry goods from China to America by ship. On arrival, these containers are often emptied and disposed of. Due to the trade imbalance, and the fact that China sends more products to America than America sends to China, it is often not cost effective or profitable to return these containers.
This project proposes recycling the shipping container’s flexible but durable steel frame as a building material. Each container is a component in the home: living room, bathroom, kitchen, bedroom. Like Lego bricks, these lightweight containers have limitless combinations, allowing the occupant to design his or her own residence with any number of modular units that can be stacked up to eight stories high. The container’s natural durability, cheapness, and ease of movement make for a cost-effective and adaptable home.

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containerized living

Detroit: a photo-essay on urban decay

Detroit represents the shortcoming of American-style, car centric urban development. Wide highways slashed through decaying neighborhoods now serve a city devoid of people in many parts. In a city that lost 60% of its population since its 1950 height, extensive infrastructure designed to serve millions of people now serves only thousands. After Detroit’s July 1967 riots, over 200,000 whites fled Detroit in fewer than five years. Now over 50,000 homes lie vacant and decaying.
During WWII, Detroit was dubbed “the arsenal of democracy” for all the military equipment that rolled out of its auto factories. Planes from Detroit went on to bomb European cities. In a form of fitting, yet ironic, justice Detroit, too, has been bombed. Except this time, it’s a city destroyed from within by the same consumer society that erected this metropolis.

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Attempts to rectify Detroit’s fallen status often fall short of success. Everywhere there are fields of surface parking lots, where there once businesses, people, and wealth. A near-empty monorail system circles an eerily quiet downtown. Downtown is a skyscraper graveyard full rotting Art Deco architectural gems and empty storefronts. Renaissance Center soars above downtown, secluded from the aging and indebted city. The imposing appearance of the nearby Greektown Casino abuts the equally ominous city jail. Suburban residents travel to Detroit for sports games at Comerica Field; they return afterwards by car to their safe and quiet and white communities.

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Detroit represents flaws in American culture across levels: government policies that encouraged suburban development at the expense of cities; corporations that developed America’s love of car culture; planners who designed cities and city life around the car. Most of all, Detroit represents the fault of American democracy to end racial segregation. Over fifty years after the end of legal racial segregation, Detroit is a racially and economically divided city. People of color are usually confined to the inner city, while those wealthier and with whiter skin benefit from the cleaner and safer streets of neighboring suburbs.
Detroit’s fitting Latin motto is: “Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus.”
We hope for better things; it shall rise from the ashes.

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New Jersey Meadowlands

The New Jersey Meadowlands, nestled between New York City and Newark, is a strange sort of in-between zone. It belongs neither to nature nor to man. The grasslands and birds of nature are abundant. So, too are the derelict factories and warehouses. The unwanted detritus of civilization is cast off into the Meadowlands, ranging from garbage to industry.
Millions of commuters to and from the suburbs to New York City pass through this region of indeterminate identity. Many look out the windows of passing trains, planes, and cars. Yet few care to observe the lapping tides and bizarre beauty of this unwanted strip of land. These views show various scenes from my daily train ride on New Jersey Transit between Newark Broad Street and Hoboken Terminal.

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My dream loft house

Loft House is a conceptual design for my dream studio apartment. Loft House incorporates elements of turn-of-the-century warehouse architecture with modern building practices. Traditional warehouse spaces are large and airy; they also feature thick retaining walls and intricate external ornament like buildings in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. With Loft House, the heavy cornices and detailed brickwork of traditional loft spaces are reduced to their most basic geometric form. The open floor plan and exposed structural beams hint at this structure’s historical precedents. It is the spirit and feel of history, more than the ornamental accoutrements, that inspire me.

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loft house 1

loft house 2

 

Model of a concrete mixing truck

This is a model of a motorized concrete mixer truck. The driver’s cabin is decorated with steering wheel, cushioned seat, headlights, license plate and ladder.  A recycled motor moves the truck forward and in reverse. This motor is linked to a shaft that that spins the concrete mixer. When the truck arrives at the construction site, the concrete contents can be poured out through an adjustable trough at the back. All details are made by hand, and the dimensions are measured against actual trucks.

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