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Design V - Fall 2021

Living in the Soundscape is a comprehensive housing development proposal in  downtown Ithaca, sandwiched in between State St., Fulton St. and the Cayuga Inlet. The site is a space of commotion and noise, as it is bordered on the east by active train tracks and lots of street traffic, to the south by a busy Bus Stop and to the north by a busy grocery store. The project attempts to solve auditory problems relating towards the sensory experience of a living community. Generating a living community through modular units, form, material, and building aggregation become the primary architectural tools for generating spaces in which positive sounds are amplified to overcome negative sounds bearing from the site. Formally, cubes that are generated from the bounding box of a historic train station building on site, are carved out by spheres the formal geometry of sound in a 3D space. These forms were chosen by their ability to amplify and reverberate sounds, which, if implemented through the design of shared courtyards, creates many moments of auditory tranquility. Four cubes are carved through different subtraction operations, each in order to indicate different types of living, and thus diversify the community as one that serves anybody. They are then  duplicated, rotated, and mirrored in an arrayed and shifted grid, following rulesets of attempting to generate both public and private courtyards, within, and establishing rigid orthogal lines on the border of the site. In the center, the historic train station is reimagined as an open-air music performance space, consisting of an ampitheater, public practicing spaces, and private practicing spaces, developing a gradient of music as the heart of the living community. Carved canals from the inlet weave through the site imagining water as a sound reflecting surface when still, and a sound creating surface when not. Additional gardens are littered throughout the courtyards, invited native birds throughout the year to sing to the residents. The materials of the buildings are porous brick facades  on the orthagonal, meant to diffuse the sound of the street noise, and aluminum cladding on the curved moments, to reflect, amplify, and echo sounds. Each building plays a collaborative role with one another and ultimately develops a new positive soundscape for living in Ithaca.

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