The program allows students and faculty to select an existing building, or structure, in a neighborhood that provides a great opportunity to meet the urban housing needs through the construction of additional living space above the existing structure(s). Buildings of significant historical, social, economic, or cultural value – especially those under the threat of disuse or demolition – are recommended. While solutions can extend out from the existing buildings all proposed solutions must extend upwards, using the existing context and fabric of the city to reinforce the character of the proposed vertical extension.
The primary programmatic element in the proposal must be affordable urban housing, secondary program elements (commercial, recreational, educational, etc.) may be included but are not required. The objective being to increase housing density within the existing building stock, either through a specific site solution or repeatable typology that be replicated across a city.
The program challenges entrants to imagine new possibilities for the future of urban living. What is the relationship between the new dwelling unit and the existing building? What is the relationship between interior and exterior spaces, uses, and views and how is daylighting incorporated into each unit? What are the health issues related to the choice of materials and how can the use of timber and wood be leveraged to create living spaces that are connected to natural systems and biophilic responses to constructed environments. Residences in this project are a mix of small units for single or double occupancy and larger, family-based units with more than one bedroom. All apartments must have exposure to natural light and air, as well as rooms that meet minimums. The following program spaces are the minimum requirements and students may expand and consider any additional options.