The Do It Yourself High Rise and the Do It Yourself Skyscraper

From Homeless Shelter to Hamburger Stand

My collaborator, Derek Keil, and I are proposing a system, and the intention is that this system will be one that can be deployed anywhere in the world and serve any programmatic purpose or need particular to the indigenous population. Our goal is to not only develop the building system itself, but the construction/manufacturing methodology, shipping and deployment methodology, and final assembly/erection methodology as well. In point of fact, these things will not merely be developed for the system, but will inform the design process throughout, and define what the system will ultimately be.

The building we have chosen to detail for the purpose of this project is a mixed use complex [although for all intents and purposes it could be a homeless shelter or hamburger stand]. What is of utmost importance to us is that this system be simple to manufacture, ship and assemble. To this end, it should be a collection of components, a kit of parts, that can be assembled into any number of configurations, each of which will accommodate / be determined by a particular program and its needs. No matter what the program, the kit of parts will remain constant; it will be their configuration that will change.

The system will begin with scaffolding (the exoskeleton). The scaffolding can support (be pixilated with) program, void, ramp and/or screen. Metaphorically speaking, the program and ramps will be the “planks,” and these will be placed and, ultimately moved by the people who will use them. As the planks are moved, the rest of the system will and must adapt accordingly.

The site will inform how the system’s components are ultimately deployed- i.e. a southern façade in the Northeast may have a winter garden in one of the voids adjacent to a programmatic volume so as to block the harsh sun during the summer days while providing evaporative cooling and nice place to be (both climactically and aesthetically) while in the winter time the indigenous trees that make up this garden shed their leaves and allow the low light to come into the adjacent space and both warm and illuminate it.