Forum: The Transformative Unit I
Recognizing that the fate of the university and the fate of the district are inextricable, our proposal envisages a new centrality through the design of the university as a complementary urban strategy alongside the existing grid of the Purisima Alameda district. The university takes on the form of a nodal, dispersed arrangement, maximizing the territory affected by its development while concentrating urban life at each of the nodes through increased density and the synergy achieved through the hybridization of program and use. The project appears at once as the inevitable outcome of an organizational system of the city (such as the open spaces inherent in the blocks of Savannah, Georgia) and as the deliberate result of place making (such as Rockefeller Center). The nodes are both special moments and a system of urban spaces, achieving both iconic qualities and a sense of having “always been there”. Reinterpreting the existing urban block and parcel structure by introducing novel forms and organizations, conditions new and altogether unexpected emerge through their dialogic synthesis. Furthermore, since the resulting nodes are at once unique and operate as a repeated system of the city's organizational logic, the network achieves cartographic qualities, allowing both the casual city dweller and the university student to map their position in the fabric.The form and programming of each node serve to further engage the idea that the university is an inextricable component of the urban fabric. Each consists of a university ring, residential towers that sit on this new landscape plinth, and courtyard buildings that engage the dominant typological qualities of the existing fabric. Within these forms are to be found a mixture of residential, academic, retail, office, and cultural programs in which distinctions between pedagogy and practice are blurred, leading to the genesis of a new, inclusive urban life spearheaded by the academic institution.
About The Designer
Clayton Strange-Lee, a U.S. registered architect and urban designer, is the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Druker Traveling Fellowship. He holds a post-professional Masters of Architecture in Urban Design with Distinction from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design as well as a Bachelor of Architecture with honors from Syracuse University School of Architecture. He is also a researcher for Habitat III's New Charter of Athens Project under co-chair Richard Sennett and has professional experience in the United States, South Korea, and China. Clayton has worked at architecture firms in the U.S and east Asia, most notably for IROJE Architects & Planners under Seung H-Sang in Seoul, Korea. At IROJE, he worked on winning proposals for the International Competition for Yongsan Park (in collaboration with West 8) and the Vanke Bus Terminal competition in Taiyuan, China.