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48,000 sq.ft, Residential Tower

Atlanta, GA 

Date: 2019

Design: Marta McClelland

Visual Presentation: Marta McClelland

Status: Concept

We search for a false sense of security in the permanency of things, while social changes and transformations are accelerating around us. Consequently, we live in spaces and are surrounded by objects which have been frozen in time and whose original intended use is obsolete. Sometimes we become servants of endless manmade objects and spend unjustifiable amounts of time and effort on the maintenance of things that are not even useful anymore. Not too long ago our ancestors brilliantly avoided this problem by rebuilding their dwellings with the change of seasons. This, according to Lawrence, gave them the opportunity to adapt their homes to the life cycles and lifestyles of the inhabitants. While the life cycle of a family can be broken down into relatively clear stages (getting married, raising children, seeing the children set up their own homes, retiring) the definition of lifestyle and lifestyle types is more challenging. Sobel argues that lifestyle can be defined as any expressive behavior that is directly observable. Income, education and occupational status are associated with lifestyle types. In this project, some simplification of lifestyle types was allowed so as to derive the variations of social relationships and domestic activities that the inhabitants might develop. The project proposes principles of design that support the adaptability of apartment homes in conditions where the dwellings are not built with mud or ice, but with more permanent materials, taking advantage of current and future technologies. The objective is to develop a flexible framework that allows the transformation of spaces in response to the lifecycles and lifestyles commonly associated with domestic life. The importance of the needs and preferences of individuals has been considered by modern and post-modern architects reacting to the rigid nature of mass housing projects. For example, Habraken’s supports project, which allowed individual dwellings to be added and removed, was an example of adaptable housing. However, it assumed that the support structure would be owned by the state and the inhabitants would have the knowledge and ability to design their dwellings. In contrast, the proposed adaptable building provides an investment opportunity, similar to investing in the land which can be developed to meet the needs of the individual inhabitants. As architecture constantly interacts, learns and evolves with its inhabitants, and as apartments expand and compress, so the overall form of the building also transforms over time. However, the transformation is not arbitrary. It is directed and controlled, in order to create aesthetically and structurally sound architecture.

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