Harvard Graduate School of Design, Spring 2017

Core Studio, Instructor: Carles Muro

Site: South Boston, USA

Bands of Void: Scene-Shifters in the Urban Drama

In the Parc de la Villette proposal, Rem Koolhaas was trying to investigate how the free section proposed in the New York Downtown Athletic Club can be transposed onto the plan of this residual area in Paris. It would be worthwhile to discuss under today’s context that how these social-condenser bands can integrate into the built fabric of the city, especially for the high-density residential district, instead of being a method of division for the void landscape.


This project aims to explore the potential of urban organization in the form of bands. By regarding the void space between the built fabric as the generator bands, the interfaces between the adjacent solid bars are investigated. In this sense, the void bands act as main scenes in the urban drama, and the built residential architecture acts as the infill, or the inbetweeners. If Koolhaas’s bands for Parc de la Villette are the porous landscape elements, the bands proposed here are more opaque and focuses on the interfaces both on the ground datum and in section. This second transposition of the already transposed free-section provides a different reading for spatial organization.


Not only does housing conveys information about the social conventions that regulate living together, about gender roles, about relationships between parents and children and between generations, it is also a fundamental indicator of the division of society into groups or of the degree of individualization. Meanwhile, the structure of a home is not static, it changes through time as well. The spatial need for different phases may vary.


By introducing an attached-while-detached space from the main family space, the diversity of spacial needs can be supported. For instance, the grown-up child can live in the separate room while also have connection with the core family in the living room and kitchen area. The work-at-home parent can have a designated space offset form the main living area to concentrate on his/her work. Such room can also function as a financial mediator that allows the family to use it as a guest house for rent.

 © 2019 by Meng Jiang.

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