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CONCRETE ISLANDS

Design VII - Summer 2022

My project posits a fictional future , prospecting interlacing stories of decay and growth, through which the architecture and environment of the site respond to and negotiate with the people and ecologies evolved. Over the next century, the urban condition of Miami will be unrecognizable. Kendall, as well as most other communities in South Florida will no longer exist. In 2030, after years of protests, new legislation and zoning designates 70% of the former Calusa Golf Course as the Calusa State Wildlife Refuge, being purchased through eminent domain. The remaining land is sold to a new sustainable development company, Design 4 Future, which proposes higher density, sustainable, and ecologically friendly housing will be constructed. When the bridge begins construction, its aim is to connect the two dead ends of the roads at the northern and southern entrances of the golf course. This creates a spine to allow a transversal intersection between infrastructure and circulation. Thus, a new ground is built, allowing open areas underneath for wildlife and accomodating for future flood risk. In 2048, the bridge is finished, but construction of the apartments is stalled, due to a coming storm. Hurricane Pablo of 1949 is the worst to ever hit the United States, causing trillions of dollars of damage, thousands of fatalities and even more displaced housless people.With a certain immediacy, people come to the bridge having nowhere to go. They come on boats, rubber rafts, and floating trees. Tents are now homes, roads are now rivers, the bridge is an island. Even when the water is drained, the city is a ghost of its former self. Those that can leave do, and those that can’t are left stranded. With the people, the money left too, stalling rebuilding efforts. People begin to organize at the bridge, constructing circulatory towers with leftover steel beams from the planned construction of the Calusa Bridge Community years ago. After years of informal living, surviving off of small scale farming and fishing, living in scaffolding and tent homes, the new Calusa Bridge community secures a philanthropic donor to build newly proposed coliving towers.

Each tower has four blocks and two community centers. Each block is mirrored radially around a central staircase atrium. Two blocks on either side of the central staircase are split in level, with publily shared bathrooms in the middle. In each double height floor there are iup to seventeen units but vary depending on the community’s needs and its natural evolution. Over time, floors fill up with peopl collaborating in the same labor groups, developing live / work floors. Units are prefabricated CLT structures delivered by helicopter and cargo ships. Each unit is attached to a structural grid of reinforced concrete columns.The community centers are situated on the outside of the live-work blocks, making them only accessible by moving through other people’s floors, thus reaffirming the common goals of success and survival. The community centers contain kitchen and dining spaces, education and a library, healthcare, recreation and exercise, agriculture, and storage. These open floors offer spaces for gathering of large groups. Each tower can house up to 400 people at maximum capacity, but could grow vertically to accomodate more if necessary. Growth isn’t only vertical. By 2090, people have immigrated in mass amounts to the bridge. New bridges are built with new towers for new people. These buildings are adjustable based on the new technology and needs and desires of the residents. Trading ports float on the water allowing connection with other island communities in Miami. E-commerce and remote work enables economic sustainability. The story culminates in the reclaiming of artifacts of the past lives before the floods. Dams are built and pumped dry, uncovering the homes of the residents, their ancestors and stories locked under water.

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