Georgia Tech is Filled With Really Smart People
December 12, 2013
OK, Georgia Tech ZED-H Studio students: now that I have caught my breath after a wonderful, whirlwind trip to Atlanta, allow me to say a hearty and heartfelt BRAVO!!!! And WOW. I really can’t say that enough.
So what brought Resource Furniture to Atlanta?
Well, it was partially the lure of some really good food, but there’s actually more to the story:
Way back in February, an amazing young Atlanta-based architect, Stephen Taul visited the wildly popular Citizens Housing & Planning Council exhibition Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers at the Museum of the City of New York. He was so inspired by the information and the exhibition (and the Clei/Resource Furniture micro-apartment, of course) that he hatched an ingenious plan: to discuss the issues surrounding changing urban demographics (yes, even in Atlanta) and the bring the concept of “micro” design to the architecture students at his alma mater, Georgia Tech School of Architecture.
The department was already engaged in a Zero Energy Design Housing studio, which focused on multi-story, residential building site planning, exterior design, and energy systems design – with little room to drill down and discuss who the intended occupants are and how they really live.
So after some fun conversations about multi-functional spaces, furniture design, micro-apartments and efficient living concepts (with me) and housing and demographics (with Sarah Watson of CHPC), Stephen was inspired to develop a course that integrates an understanding of changing demographics, efficient interior design and ergonomics into the program – a very novel concept for an architecture department – and right up our alley. Assisted by a gift from Resource Furniture (and the other sponsors listed below) to the School of Architecture, Stephen was able to bring this vision to reality and today 21st Century Housing: Making Room in the Contemporary City is the latest design and research studio at Georgia Tech.
Not only will this added discussion round out the students’ scope of studies, but Stephen knew (and so did we) that if each interior area of a building is seen as an opportunity to create a multifunctional space – essentially asking for more function from every square foot and potentially reducing square footage throughout – there could be a measurably positive impact on overall building efficiency. Which is actually the whole point of the studio.
Resource Furniture is very proud to be a sponsor of this program along with Alcoa Foundation, Architecture for Humanity Pillars of Sustainable Education, and Southface – we are honored to be in such amazing company.
The fall semester focused on Building to City/Energy to City. Five teams presented their work. Teams varied in size from one person to three people. These photos cannot possibly do the work justice, but here they are (in no particular order)
TEAM BKM: Bunny Tucker, Madona Cumar, Kaitlyn Pahel
Don’t let the team color-coordination fool you (even though it was an awesome detail) – this was a seriously cool project and an enormous amount of work. I got really excited when they started talking about “bars”, but alas, they were not referring to that kind of bar. They designed a creative interior layout for literally everyone. While they didn’t have hard and fast data behind some of their decisions, they were incredibly creative in working through, analyzing and graphically communicating their information. I can’t wait to see how the interior spaces crystallize in the spring semester.
P.S. Sarah and I still want to see the cougar’s apartment.
Team NJT: Namrata Dani, Junying Shi, Tyrone Marshall
Team NJT proposed a building comprised of combined/flexible live/work spaces – ingenious. And a current obsession of mine. It reminded me of one of my favorite entries in the 2013 Solar Decathlon from Team Alberta. The site chosen by Team NJT site was extremely challenging, and their building was really impressive. Hopefully, they will be able to dive deeper into who their target occupants are and fine-tune the interior spaces in the spring semester.
Team J2: James Van Horn, James Bramlett
These two designed the most beautiful addition to the Atlanta skyline. And they gave the neighborhood a grocery store (!), killer views both north and south in each apartment, and lots and lots of green spaces. There were a variety of apartment sizes, with the exception of small studios – they really felt that the micro-apartment model would not appeal to their target demographic, and they might be right (it’s not for everyone!). I’m looking forward to seeing how much more functional their homes will be once they research interior design a little more. And their renderings were gorgeous. Amazing job, guys.
Team EDA: Eli Damircheli
Ok, Eli – seriously – how did you do all that work by yourself? I was really impressed by Eli’s process – she was the only one who started exploring the interiors before the building. And she completely embraced the “city as community space” concept, integrating the street-level plaza as an integral part of her building. Her apartments were light-filled and because of the multi-level design and high ceilings, felt really spacious, despite the small footprint. Eli will need to figure out how to make the building ADA-compliant, and I’m glad that’s her job and not mine!
Her tenant, Phillipe is really hot, too.
Team BBC: Nick Coffee, Jim Boyer, Katie Braswell
This team worked with the same site as Team BKM – a topographically difficult site for sure. But they had a completely different proposal than BKM, starting with the concept of the “urban carriage house.” The site is zoned to allow two structures on a single plot, and they took that to another level, designing two-unit apartments that could be owned by one household. They also integrated a townhouse section, which looked like a really great transition to the existing adjacent single-family-home neighborhood. They were also the only team to design with a mature occupant in mind – a very important segment of the population that will also need more flexible housing options! I encouraged them to think about the apartments as more flexible modules that could grow and shrink with changing lifestyles, and I have no doubt that they will be able to accomplish this – and more.
On behalf of everyone here at Resource Furniture, I would like to thank Michael Gamble, Stephen Taul, Dr. Steven French and the entire faculty of GT School of Architecture for allowing us to participate and contribute to this program.
ON ANOTHER NOTE ENTIRELY
Atlanta food rocks. We were practically on a Top Chef of Atlanta tour, but we only scratched the surface – such great food with such great company.