MICHELLE TSE

Ecological Palimpsest

"If excrements were properly handled, it could fertilize a 50’ x 50’ garden producing 6,700 servings of fruits and vegetables— enough to feed 6 people 3 servings every day for a whole year."

   With an increasing chain of natural disasters due to climate change here in New York City and around the world, the idea of being self sufficient became more relevant than ever. The driving force behind the conception of this project came from the desire to create an interactive and pedagogical environment that functions for two user groups without compromising the building footprint given as part of the assignment— the two groups being Columbia students and residents of the Grant Housing Project. The building acts as a figurative bridge— from the existing campus to the new Columbia campuses, as well as from Grant Houses to the Public Library.
   The programming is placed from the most public at the bottom to the most private on top; the most ‘performative’ pushed to the edge of West 125th street and showcased; private programming sits towards the housing projects to allow for privacy for both residents at Grant Houses and Natatorium users. The placement of each element is dictated by the main semi- Olympic pool and the ecological systems at work within— plant filtered pool water, rainwater collection, grey water recycling and composting toilets. The compost is then used by the community to plant the land. The tectonic language of the building is done in such a way that the different levels of transparency and translucency interact to create different privacy conditions.

Spring 2014
Mentor: Mark Rakatansky