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City Orchard

Part 1 Project 2008
Magdalena Leutzendorff
University of Westminster | UK
City Orchard

Small to big, tense to loose, closed to open . . . everything happens in stages and layers.

My project started as a small connection of three structural profiles. Then, through multiple layers and the combination of different materials emerged a strong and powerful connection. This is the basis for and the philosophy of the building.

The public layer produces the entrance to the building and the connection to the neighbours; then comes a semi-public (or shared) area where the inhabitants of the building share a kitchen, bathroom and lounge; this is followed by a semi-private section which contains a shared study area for the students; and finally, a private space which contains a single room for each student. These layers combine to generate a space with a strong link between materials and building.

Like a tree, the lifeline of the community sits in the centre of the structure. The shared rooms, living areas and main circulation functions are the core of the structure.

The single rooms function as leaves. They are separate, but they can't live without the stem of the tree and the tree can't live without them. They are connected to the core through branches, areas which are shared by three students to encourage interaction between the different students. These areas are the link between the communal and private areas.

The building is constructed from different components, all of which are prefabricated off-site and transported there by boat. It can be easy assembled, but once it reaches its life span, the dismantling process is simple. This allows short construction time and better specification.

Depending on the weather, leaves can open to let sunlight in or close to protect the core from the elements. In the same manner, the building can adjust to the needs of its inhabitants. The separate rooms can be opened and closed, connected or disconnected with the communal areas depending on the mood of the inhabiting person, giving the building the shadows and light, movement and rest a different experience on every level.

Magdalena Leutzendorff

The project proposes a multi-use student accommodation that builds itself along a simple construction process. At the beginning of the project a simple detail is proposed, then the logic of the detail begin to rule the program and compose the function and the utilization of the building.

Every part of the building - function, construction, programation, skin, and sustainability - is considered with this detail in mind, and the process ends up proposing a building that is both functional and sculptural.

The given site is dense and narrow, between city and river, it only allow a dense vertical composition. Programmatically the scheme comprises a small projection theatre, a restaurant, exhibition spaces and individuals bedrooms.

Francois Girardin
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