A Park for Working and Living | Option Studio

Dan Wood, Sam Ghantous
Spring 2019

In an area marred by the development of shiny blue towers, tightly cordoned street life between highways and elevated rails, and sanitized privately-owned public plazas, my project aims to create, quite literally, common ground between homelife, the contemporary worklife, and publicly accessible space. The tower offers, to its residents, the opportunity to generate forms of work offline and off-the-cloud. In an age of locavore culture, a return-to-the-earth mentality, and passionate millennial plant mamas, the units in my tower offer the opportunity to grow, sculpt, and cultivate new forms of work. Similar to projects such as Wesbeth artist housing, this project aims to generate a community of people who are interested in living off the land. The back façade that faces Long Island City is relatively conservative, while the façade that faces our new development explodes into various depths and landscapes.

The tower is split through an A-B system. The living spaces vary in depth to allow for studios to three-bedrooms, encouraging a diversity of residents. The private bedroom areas are towards the back, allowing views to the north of Manhattan. The living room and common spaces open up onto a plot of land that can be conditioned greenhouse-style or opened to the environment. Here, residents can grow food, woodwork, sculpt, run an outdoor yoga session, heal injured birds, host urban campers, et cetera. As worklife and homelife continues to blur, this system offers new alternatives to the laptop lifestyle.

The exterior of the building becomes a vertical urban park that is open to the public. It is divided roughly into three areas, allowing for a range of different experiences as you “hike” the building. These areas are drawn from classical artistic approaches to landscape, principles which similarly influenced the design of Central Park and other canonical urban greenspace. The park begins as a Pastoral, ramps up to a Picturesque park with non-linear paths, dead ends, and hidden corners, and then proceeds nearly vertically through a Sublime organization of trees at the top. At the end of the hike, visitors are greeted with both panoramic views of Long Island City, the most rapidly-changing neighborhood of Queens, shiny and blue, as well as Sunnyside Heights, lower and older, waiting to see what will happen next.