Grid + Grain

STUDENTS   Everardo Lopez, Lauren McWhorter, and Jesce Walz
University of Washington

FACULTY SPONSORS   Richard Mohler and Elizabeth Golden
University of Washington

JUROR COMMENTS   This winning submission is a very exciting and convincing urban strategy. The diagram for this project in plan and section is extremely elegant and works well. It is a project that you could see being build in New York City. The plaza created on Essex St. has a grand urban gesture to the larger street, and the market along Delancy St. is a nice buffer to the living spaces that lie behind. This scheme allows for a pedestrian way to be created – a much desired projected area. The museum volume is well developed and it celebrates the existing four-story building on Essex St. This team clearly gave a lot of attention to transportation on the site. There is a nice sequence from the subway to the proposed LowLine to the building. The vertical circulation from the underground all the way up to the housing is thought through and this shows in section. The section has a lot of breathing room and opportunity for southern light to enter. In fact, throughout the project there is serious consideration to sunlight, and we wish that other environmental systems received the same attention. The submission is lacking in its use of wood. The tectonic language is convincing that it could be wood, but the representation and narrative could have addressed the technical solutions of timber more.

DESCRIPTION   Assembling a Neighborhood GRID + GRAIN is a neighborhood of streets, alleys, and urban spaces that welcomes people and builds community at multiple scales. It unites the dense urban fabric of the Lower East Side to the north with the massive residential blocks to the south. On the site, a series of blocks define pedestrian streets within the project. Gathering spaces are oriented east-west, intersected by a series of residential blocks running north-south. The museum, market, and housing frame Market Street, The Yard, and Essex Plaza. Together, these spaces offer a spectrum of public to private experience. Activating the Ground The program organization defines east-west corridors of public activity, using existing street edges and creating new paths between buildings. Delancey Street defines a strong edge along the north side of the site. The market reinforces this axis and acts both as a gateway and a boundary. Live-work units frame the opposite side of Market Street, encouraging exchange between visitors, residents, and merchants. Parallel to Market Street is The Yard, an outdoor space for residents framed by family-oriented housing on both sides and flanked by towers above. On the quieter southern edge of the site, Broome Street is defined by two- and three-bedroom townhouses: a contemporary interpretation of urban vernacular, with stoops opening onto the street. Elevating the Street The upper and lower blocks intersect to form rooftop terraces and community recreation spaces that provide opportunities for gathering among residents. Micro units and one-bedroom loft apartments are located in four towers that rest on ground-related housing. The residential units are narrow in width to maximize natural daylighting and ventilation. CLT panels form the main structure of the buildings, acting as a central spine to allow for a free façade. Elevated “streets” form a series of staggered circulation within the blocks, occurring on four of the six upper residential levels. Double-height units allow for this rhythm to be expressed in the façade organization. Engaging the City Essex Plaza acts as the entry into the site from the north and the subway, welcoming visitors from around the city. Transit riders ascend from the subway through the lower level of the market and up into the plaza. Museum, market, and residential activity enlivens the plaza, inviting a mixture of art, exchange, and the everyday.