Portfolio Project Detail

Life Hub Jens Buch-Dohrman, Marcelo Bernal, and Tyrone Marshall

Design Concept
In today’s connected world, we see a massive increase in people who do not have a place home but work in the cloud and travel across the globe – so-called Digital Nomads. Life Hub is a concept for a series of hubs that have the potential to make anywhere your home, workplace, and local neighborhood destination.
What makes Life Hub different is that rather than paying rent. You pay a subscription to join a global community and get access to a bed at any of several locations (hubs) – this project in Manhattan is a case study. Each Hub is anchored in its local community and invites everyone to take part in the Life of the building. ‘

Each Hub employs at least one full-time attendant who manages the space; however, the community is encouraged to help maintain the area. This happens by getting bonuses (discounts on your subscription), when you, for instance, take a shift in the bar, clean up the kitchen, etc. This not only keeps costs down but builds community.

Transformation Strategy
The approach is simple. Make minimal changes to the existing structure and inhabit the space using a modular approach, which can be reconfigured to suit demand and program.

The changes consist of two additional skylights and a large glass partition towards the neighboring green courtyard, which give the full and narrow space access to ample daylight and views. Space features two “castles” consisting of modular units, which allow for dense occupancy in a minimal area – keeping as much of the space as possible open and flexible.

Public/community access and use
We use the existing garage doors and provide a broad and inviting public connection passes through the building and invites the community to explore and inhabit the space. People who inhabit the surrounding buildings and courtyards are encouraged to use the Hub. We provide a separate entrance directly into the kitchen/eating space – allowing for large everyday dinners which “spill out” into the green space.

Modular approach
The concept accommodates three different types of sleeping arrangements with varying degrees of privacy. More types could, of course, be added. These sleep-work-live modules are inspired by sleeper compartments on trains, which can change according to the time of day. The upper level consists of private and semi-private pods, which are sealed off from the main community space by the glass. On the ground, floor pods open directly to the community space and function as seating during the day, while converting to four bunks at night. Also, the space between the modules is populated with the same types of furniture, which can be used for short term stays.

The configuration showed on the board allows 43 people to stay at maximum capacity. Adding more modules would allow for a higher density, but we elected to give priority to public and community programs. In this way, space can still be used as an event space when needed.