Architecture Design Option Studio — WORKLIVE QUEENS (Wood/Ghantous)

Required of: 

We are at a critical moment in the history of both working and living. It is not clear how or where — or even if — people will work in the future, but it is already clear that as technology evolves, working and living will become even more intertwined.

To date, architecture’s response in the interior has been slight modifications to extremely traditional living arrangements, what has come be known as “live-work.”. On the exterior, though, new residential buildings have almost entirely adopted the language of glass skyscrapers, previously the sole domain of the commercial office building. Compare, however, this banal cooption of work-culture with earlier precedents — the development of artist lofts in SoHo’s former manufacturing buildings, for example — and one can see how creative reuse of working space can lead to more radical and experimental ways of living in the city.

This studio will be an in depth look at how working and living can be interconnected in new ways to reflect society’s new ideals and opportunities. Instead of boring old LIVE-WORK, we will be designing experimental WORK-LIVE housing. We will study the history or working and living through research and analysis of radical architectural precedents from history. For the final project, aach student will individually come up with their own thesis about the future of living and working. Will the Amazon robots take over labor, leaving everyone able to live as a hipster-hippie ETSY-users? Will new communal forms of living appear, in order to harness group creativity? We will create new prototypical hybrids from this conceptual framework.

 Our site will be in Queens, the most intriguing, least-studied and fastest-growing of New York City’s boroughs. Queens is the most diverse place in the world where over 800 languages are spoken. It is the heart of NYC;’s infrastructure, hosting its largest park, two airports, railyards and one of the world’s biggest sewage treatment plants. Queens is also home to some of the most amazing early experimental modern residential developments — such as Sunnyside Gardens, Queens — is now about to host Amazon’s newest HQ.

In our trip together to New York, we admittedly will not be going too far but we will leave Cambridge far behind in a complete immersion into the most exotic sides of New York and Queens. We will plan the trip together, but our research could take us to meet architects working on WeLive for WeWork, visits to the newest architecture in the city, a canoe trip on the US’s most polluted urban waterway, karaoke in Flushing, a tour of the newly renovated Ford Foundation etc.

 We will be working in Queen Plaza, where new residential skyscrapers are cropping up at almost an Asian rate, and we will take them on at their own scale, designing new high-density, high-rise visions for the future of living and working.