housing units that examine the interaction between architecture and riparian ecology

In Collaboration with: Zhuoying Lin, Kelly Lu


The design tackles the homogeneous living conditions and overloaded sewage problem in Pittsburgh city by actively engaging the riparian zone and water elements in the urban context. The housing complex promotes the diversity of living that mutually grows with the eco-machine, and encourages the interaction between human and nature in a highly connected network of landscape and human circulation.


Our process began by analyzing the flood zone, rainwater and sewage system of the site, along with the topography and the visual blockage as the result of the produce terminal on the southern end of the site. In particular, the relatively flat site and runoff from the mountain exacerbate the overloaded sewage infrastructure and there is little visual or physical access for people to interact with the river. Such ecological and urban conditions informed the development of housing aggregation and landscape strategies, as well as the curation of the infrastructure to guide the water flow and clean the water during this process.

The resulting layout of the housing units enables several interesting moments where people can gather at the public space without taking away the privacy in individual unit. The most connected area becomes the circulation core and community center. The eco-machine is the generative shell structure that collects and guide rainwater through pipes and roof garden into the central wetland system. The structure can also take gray-water to accommodate fluctuation in precipitation.