Register: APR/03/2019, Submit: MAY/22/2019, Eligibility: Students from ACSA member schools around the world; students must to work under the direction of a faculty sponsor from ACSA member school; individually, teams up to 5 members, Fee: Free, Awards: 1st Prize: students 10,000 USD, faculty sponsor 7,000 USD; 2nd Prize: students 8,000 USD, faculty sponsor 5,000 USD; 3rd Prize: students 6,000 USD, faculty sponsor 4,000 USD; Honorable Mentions
The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) is pleased to announce “Timber in the City 3″: Urban Habitats Competition for the 2018-2019 academic year. The competition is a partnership between the Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC), ACSA and the School of Constructed Environments (SCE) at Parsons School of Design. The program is intended to engage students, working individually or in teams, to imagine the transformation of our existing cities through sustainable buildings from renewable resources, offering expedient affordable construction, innovating with new and traditional wooden materials, and designing healthy living and working environments. This is the third competition in this “Timber in the City” series, and focuses this year on the interrelationship between housing, healthy, early childhood education and climate change.
The competition challenges participants to re-imagine a vacant waterfront site in Queens, New York, as a vibrant and vanguard model of healthy, biophilic living for the future of the city.
Embracing new structural and ecological possibilities of wood construction, entrants will design a mid-rise, mixed-use complex that includes affordable housing, a large community wellness facility, and an early childhood education center, all interlaced with a new exterior public waterfront space. Entrants are challenged to propose construction systems in scenarios that draw optimally on the performance characteristics of not one but a variety of wood technologies, and are encouraged to think about the site as a testing ground for socially, materially, and environmentally progressive and innovative models of sustainable urban living.
The programs for this mixed-use development are composed to challenge students and educators to think creatively and critically about the way in which choices about building materials, and the interrelationship of interior space and the exterior environments frame long-term consequences for the health of urban environments. Housing is the largest component of the competition program and presents an opportunity to look closely at the way timber construction can be used effectively in creating buildings based on smaller cellular units. A community wellness and sports facility complements the housing, and offers larger community and collective spaces that will require larger structural spans. An early childhood education center, for children from 6 weeks to 5 years old, calls attention to the critical role these institutions play in the long-term vitality and development of a community.
This third edition of the “Timber in the City” considers a site in Queens, just south of the Queensborough/Ed Koch Bridge. Overlooking the east river, with views to Roosevelt Island and Manhattan, the vacant site can be understood as a segment within a larger chain of mixed-use waterfront development in the Borough, including the Hunters Point and Annabel Basin projects underway to the south, and stretching south to Brooklyn and north to the Bronx. These new approaches to affordable housing stands in contrast to the NYCHA Queensbridge Housing development to the north. Constructed in 1939, it is one of the largest public housing complex in North America. Along with the adjacent Queensbridge Park, it reflects nearly century-old ideals of living, construction, affordable housing, and landscape which will be reconsidered and re-imagined in this competition. This site has a unique mixed-use zoning designation and an ample allowable FAR, which the competition program does not maximize. Instead, it is to be considered the first of a phased development of this significant site. Competitors are required to anticipate the future phased build-out of this site to utilize the full FAR as a condition of the competition design.
The competition challenges participants to interpret, invent, and deploy numerous methods of building systems, with a focus on innovations in wood design on a real site. For thousands of years, solid wood has been used as a building material. Modern timber products and systems have greatly expanded the potential uses of this historic material. Timber is an ideal green building material: it is well suited for a broad range of structural and aesthetic applications, it offers economical construction and high performance characteristics in strength and energy efficiency, and wood is an economic driver to maintain forests and protect jobs in rural communities.
The diversified program proposes several spatial conditions, span distances, use and environmental criteria in order to elicit a diverse group of architectural compositions and technological solutions that incorporate the use of differing structural, framing, and detail-oriented components. Such conditions may be:
- Vertical mid-rise framing (i.e. mass timber systems such as nail laminated timber, dowel laminated timber and cross laminated timber)
- Interior partitioning (stud framing or modular panelized systems)
- Exterior cladding (modular assemblies)
- Long-span structure (glu-lam beams, mechanically laminated timber, and other composite members)
Community Wellness Center
The community wellness center will serve both residents of the on-site housing and also residents and workers from nearby neighborhoods. Drawing on the historic role of the gymnasium as a center for both physical and also mental and emotional health, the center will include a range of spaces for individual and group exercise, as well as multifunctional large-span spaces for pools and indoor team sports that are envisioned to be able to serve community-wide events. The intersection between the pool and the adjacent East River, and the fitness area and the riverfront park are key site conditions to consider in the organization and design of this component of the project.
Early Childhood Education Center
Complementing the residential portion of this project is the integration of a early childhood education center for 135 children between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years (infants through pre-kindergarten). With changes in family structures and the increasing requirement that both parents work to meet the challenges of living in cities, the role performed by early childhood education centers in the long-term development of children is increasing in importance. Unfortunately, a significant number of such facilities are limited by tight budgets and compromised facilities. This competition asks students to carefully consider the spatial, material and organization of this key educational facility in the development of young children from scratch. Careful attention needs to be placed on the choice of materials to support the growth of infants and young children whose bodies are highly susceptible to the influence of their environment, and the interrelationship between interior learning space and exterior playscapes in a city where children have limited access to outdoor learning environments.
The early childhood education center will provide 10 individual classrooms broken down by age, from infant continuity rooms, to preschool and then prekindergarten. Children attending this facility are to be drawn from the new housing on the site, and the surrounding neighborhood. These classrooms are complemented by gross motor rooms (playrooms), indoor and exterior play/inquiry area, and staff and administrative support spaces. With classrooms dedicated to pre-kindergarten aged children, this program intentionally dovetail into the New York City Universal Pre-K (UPK) program launched in 2014. The program enables students in the country’s largest public school district to begin school a year before kindergarten – this year, over 70,000 4-year-olds were enrolled in the program across the five boroughs.
The program challenges entrants to imagine new possibilities for the future of urban living. What is the relationship between the individual dwelling unit and the collective aggregation of units? How does a large housing development inculcate a strong sense of community through its programming, organization, and form? 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 minimum
The site for the competition is located at 42-02 and 42-16 Vernon Boulevard in Queens, New York., immediately south of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge and to the west of the East River overlooking Roosevelt Island. These two parcels are to be considered together as the boundary for the project. An existing historic structure is located on 42-16 Vernon Boulevard and this building is to be kept and integrated into the design of the project. The site is a total of 110,000 square feet and measures 130’ by 510’.
The site was the former home of the New York Architectural Terra-Cotta Works, with the front office building remaining from the original factory complex. The site currently has a flexible and expansive zoning designation that allows for mixed-us development to encourage waterfront development. This zoning allows for an FAR of 10, and includes residential along with commercial designations.
The waterfront of Queens has undergone significant transformation over the last two decades, shifting from industrial and warehouse facilities to increasingly mixed-use and public space designations. The competition anticipates that a public waterfront for pedestrians and cyclists will run north-south, connecting Hunter’s Point developments to the south up to Rainey Park and Socrates Sculpture Park to the north.