In a future where historic preservation regulations have increased to a point where growth has been virtually restricted, the city found itself in an embalmed state. Torn between its rich historical fabric and its future growth and progress, a series of guidelines were implemented that would allow both to coexist. The plan was to create a subterranean twin city: one that would enable a multiplication of the ground to occur in densely populated areas, creating a new frontier for real estate growth and inhabitance, invisible to the city’s skyline.
The presence of an existing underground subway system would act as the project’s infrastructural spine connecting the City’s densest housing district with its congested commercial downtown district. Subtraction of selected pieces of the urban fabric would act as a tool for positive space-making underground, as seismic risk and vagrant building sites were selected for inversion. The void courtyard becomes a new urban typology, allowing for access into the underground through pedestrian and vehicle lifts, and becoming foundations for building skyward. The city was arranged based on the need for sunlight and ventilation rather than traditional of urban planning, and zoning begins to occur in section. Between the existing transit network below and layers of the city’s existing infrastructure above, space is divided into parcels using a grid system, for which units are able to be eaten up in three dimensions.
The act of excavation, or tunneling, beneath existing city infrastructure (streets and sidewalks), would allow for a network of connective subterranean galleries with private program agglomerating adjacent to these spaces as they would above ground. In a city obsessed with holding on to the remnants of its past, this system would allow capitalism to continue. The underground here becomes a place of programmatic, economic, and spatial freedoms, becoming a place where architecture is all encompassing. The surface city becomes a historic and environmental counterpoint to this technological underworld below: a place of nostalgia, history, and of nature and escape. It becomes liberated by the introduction of the underground as a frontier for urban growth.
Status: School Project
My Role: Thesis project
Additional Credits: instructors: David Gissen, Brian Price