At the core of being human, we are a part of nature and its varying ecosystems. Throughout our evolution, living spaces moved from depending on nature to derive shelter to building isolated living spaces from natural materials. Biophilia is the idea that humans have an affinity toward the natural world. Within biophilia there is an idea that humans create a sense of community to address a psychological need to be around life and life-like processes. Exposure to views and images of nature help to speed up healing and recovery while boosting positive emotions via a connection to a bigger natural system.
Our design seeks to create a usable and connected public space that fosters a sense of community through the re-cohabitation of human spaces and nature. Within our concept there are two systems at work: The human community and the natural elements that define the functionality of and for the human-occupied spaces. Bringing these two systems together helps to refuse human thinking, emotions, and actions with the natural elements that support the boundaries of the ecosystem in which they take place. Our space seeks to build a sense of empathy within the community it fosters by encouraging residents to help each other, to listen to one another, and to build a strong foundation for humanity within, rather than against, the elements.
The first floor offers public event space to gather neighbors through hosted events. The public space creates a connection from the south side to north side.
The second floor houses a communal nursery that brings people together and to nature, fostering human connections with each other and with nature in the urban setting. The nursery serves as a hinge bringing residents together to build the natural system but to also feed the human system by growing gardens that serve communal and harvest kitchens. The garden, kitchen, and dining spaces also function socially to provide semi-private space for socializing and networking.
The housing units are organized according to the site logic of modularity and porosity. Each sleeping pod is located in eco-atriums. All the units receive natural daylight from the side of the atrium and from the roof. An opening at each floor also establishes natural light and air flows. Each unit is passively cooled with thermal chimneys that run from the first floor through all levels of the structure. The airflow is designed so that air moves from the south side of the building up and through the atriums. The thermal chimneys allow hot air to vent from the units and they capture cooler night breezes to complete the circulation process. The units’ placement, solar orientation, natural daylight, contextualism, and nonmechanical thermal comfort all emphasize the self-sustenance of the structure while integrating residents’ own respiration into the airflow system – this once again links individuals into the life processes of the naturally housed ecosystem.