Spring Semester, 4th Year, at the WAAC
The site is located in Rosslyn, Virginia, across the street from the Rosslyn Metro stop. The existing building is a church on top of a gas station; the assignment was to build a condominium tower and relocate the church somewhere in the tower. The remainder of the program was open. Upon arriving at the site for the first time, I saw some shrubbery on top of a first story building that concealed a secret “niche”. Thereon, my project evolved into a tower with a simple volume with carved “niches”—which created patio spaces for each of the condominiums. Also at the site, I walked along the bridge that connects the Metro stop to the tower to the gym. I was disappointed with the very inconsistent, spatial experience; I chose redesign the bridge as well.
I started to play with tower footprint shapes and patio/courtyard placement, and found that with the site’s shape, a trapezoidal footprint would be the most efficient use of the space.
The most logical location for the church was at the top of the tower. The location brings the inhabitants closer to Heaven and God. A gradient blending ground and sky was further achieved through thoughtful materiality. The first floor contains the condo lobby, retail, and a public semioutdoor space. The second floor is solely to add double height to the retail and condo offices in order to even out the site’s natural slope. The third level features the church administration and offices; this level meets the bridge and has a transitional green space between the two.
Instead of simply stacking units, I referred to Le Corbusier’s precedent and tweaked it; the units interlock using all three axes (x, y, and z)—giving occupants supplementary views from an additional side of the tower. With a trapezoidal plan, the three units differ a lot spatially. The focal point of the two-story units is the double height transitional space between the upper level and lower level portions—forming the living rooms and “niche” patio spaces. The walls defining the double height space relied on the primary structure-loadbearing walls framing the circulation core. The 18 two-story units are geared toward “young professionals” with 2 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms; there are also 15 single-story units for “senior citizens” with 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom.
Lastly, a perforated metal skin covers the north and south faces of the tower. Towards the bottom, the skin peels off and encloses the bridge on the north side and creates an outdoor green space on the south side. Also on the south side, the skin continues up and follows the curve of the church’s roof in order to make one fluid curve from ground to sky.
Status: School Project
Location: Rosslyn, VA, US