Swamp Machine

STUDENT   Benjamin Ahearn, Kristin Karlsson, Carey Moran
University of Washington 

FACULTY SPONSOR   Richard Mohler, Elizabeth Golden
University of Washington

JUROR COMMENTS   This project takes a unique approach to inhabiting the site. The hybrid of housing and manufacturing, with interlocking parts is quite nice. The design presents an interesting strategy and creates an exciting section as the residential fingers, with broken down amenities at each piece, plug into the warehouse and reach out into the neighborhood. Also, there are successful connections from the street and through the marsh. The placement of the industrial components of the program on the main street creates a nice rhythm in terms of scale. The permeability of the ground plain allows the users of the buildings to walk though an untamed landscape.

The Swamp Machine works to enhance Brooklyn’s coastline through reinstating native ecology. It creates a habitat fit for industry, recreation and bio-remediation. Occupying a composite timber structure, the parts support the whole; alone they exist, together they thrive.

Time is on our side; expanding the construction schedule allows for greater integration into Red Hook, the Swamp Machine grows as a series of planned events. It begins as a vision, planned and processed in the digital laboratory, almost undetectable to the passerby. Soon the land is manipulated, carved back to the water, given back to the people, the swamp has returned to Red Hook. Next industry drives, manufacturing for survival, opportunity and progress; the building builds itself into the community. The site is a platform for commerce, sparked by the Bike Shop, a showcase of Swamp Machines fabrication capabilities and community outreach. Inhabitation completes the equation; the housing fins enunciate the careful balance that constitutes the machine. 

Working within its environment the Swamp Machine expands an economy, enriches a community and renews a habitat. Each piece is essential; a systematic symbiosis in Red Hook. Give it back, back to Brooklyn, back to the Swamp.


House of Wood

STUDENT   Emily Hagen
Virginia Tech

FACULTY SPONSOR   Heinrich Schnoedt
Virginia Tech

JUROR COMMENTS   This design is a refreshing, distinctive response to the site and program with many attractive qualities. This form driven scheme captures the spirit of the place and nicely references the tall silos in the distance. The project raises some important questions concerning timber construction, for instance, how could you make this a reality with new wood technologies? The lower “sheds” with varying depths work quite nicely on the street level. While the 19-story tower would work better as a shorter building, the motivations of the design have great potential, and the simplicity and clarity of the project is appreciated.

DESCRIPTION   The iconic form of the proposal oscillates between House and the Ware-House, asserting a formal difference between working and living. The traditional forms of House and the Ware-House are appropriated, and then combined to create a hybrid typology for the city to redress programmatic work and living conditions.

The material layer of the outer façade is a weave of wooden cladding enveloping the structure as a singular object during the day. At night, light from inside pierces through the weave revealing the complex activity level of a typical New York urban structure. The differentiated cladding both separates the two parts not only visually but it assists in the respective spatial performance. The horizontal weave of the House allows for natural light to penetrate deeper into the apartment spaces, whereas the vertical cladding of the Factory permits only indirect light into the workspace. On the ground floor the spacing of the vertical wooden slats on the outer façade surface allows for bicycle parking between the members.

The strict geometries of the New York City streets regulate the forms of the House and Ware-House buildings. The meeting point of the two grids becomes the central gallery space, allowing for a display of the work built in the factory to be experienced by the community living in and around the House. 

The meeting of the two programs and the two forms allows for a greater amount of diversity and produces more of a micro-community in a large city context. The grids of the city are continued through the site in a smaller scale through structural columns, which divide and orient users throughout the building, allowing spaces to geometrically rationalized.