Secret Commons

This project proposes an urban housing on the border of downtown and residential area of Olneyville.  The site is continually traversed by pedestrians, automotive and public transportation. A nest-like housing complex that shelters the people of Olneyville from the busy industrial downtown by creating a friendly bounded courtyard is put forward.
Neighborhood Linkage ⁃ Form
The shape of the building is inspired by extending the existing neighborhood buildings and streets. This generates circulation that is continuous and blends into the local area. It rings the area from the surrounding, yet opens up to areas where there are major streets and circulation happens. Pinching of the waist exaggerates the connection of the second major streets of downtown and creates an entrance from the residential area. 
The building is oriented to the south, with each levels arranged into a form so that sunlight could be reached to most houses and create the least amount of shadows towards the neighboring street and buildings. 
Unit Plan and Aggregation
The shift in public to collective to private can be experienced during the path from street to courtyard, courtyard to building and building to each unit. The building is assembled with a mixture of studio, 2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom type of housings to fit various occupants; single-living, college students, workers, and families.
Environmental Strategy
The grand size of the single building not only serves as a friendly boundary for people but also refers back to the big old mills that once were located near the river and made use of hydro power. To allow the building to cover its own energy use, a micro-hydro electric plant is designed; using the river that runs through the building (average 43.4 million gallon per day).
Construction Detail and Materiality
The basic structure of the architecture will be constructed in wood. Areas that are exposed to the outside, as well as interior floors and walls, will use concrete, thin cement and fire rated drywalls. The passage ways in public areas will use pebble stones or bricks to allow water to penetrate and travel to the ground.
Community Space ⁃ Greenery
At the corner where the housing meets the downtown area, a stepped plaza that makes a more urban transition is designed and bus stop station area is designed where the residential area meets the controlled green walkway. Rooftop gardens that are for residents are located on top of the second floor roofs and there are some private “backyards” outdoor space for family sized units. 

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