Urban shift ​By Andrea Katigbak, Marsha Agard, Matthew Busscher &​ Nicole Ferrer​

Urban shift

​By Andrea Katigbak, Marsha Agard, Matthew Busscher &​ Nicole Ferrer​

The project concept anticipates fluidity in the nature of urban housing needs. Embracing the dynamism of the city, a system of structure and panels allows quick deployment and configurability.  In the context of the city, planning for density incorporates planning for an intensity of use. A resident base implies supporting facilities and amenities.  The structure and panel system incorporates the opportunity for larger volumes, creating the space for facilities and amenities, and flexible programmatic mixes.

The project uses structure as an armature for the flexible development of space.  It begins by defining a volumetric module: 4 m by 4 m – the minimum universal space that can be a multiple user bedroom or kitchen or living room. Modules are then combined into optimized residential units.  This generative approach produces a variety of layouts, to be deployed in clusters within a structural grid.  As a framework for unit clusters, the structural grid determines the overall geometry and massing of the project.  

The project massing reflects the lighter nature of the material. Integrating with the existing 8 m X 8 m grid of the existing building below, residential clusters maintain a shallow depth for daylighting and air circulation.  A perimeter is suggested through the perpendicular stacking of self-supporting clusters. This vertical massing is made more porous with the introduction of apertures, and the use of spanning elements. The aggregation of these larger elements is arranged around a void. The overall organization modulates a system of vertical courtyards, maintaining these spaces as conduits for light and air.

The site is in San Francisco, a parking lot on Mission St. between 4th and 5th Streets. It is in close proximity to theaters, museums, convention centers, and retail establishments.   The high capacity parking is an indicator of the intense use of the area.  It is also an underutilized site, relegating space in a dense neighborhood to parked vehicles in the daytime. Housing is proposed on this site in order to maximize its use, incorporating its proximity to amenities.​


City Above the City architecture competition

Plan B : City Above the City architecture competition 

Metsä Wood challenged architects and students around the world to push the boundaries of modern wood building design in the urban environment. Entrants from 40 countries created their Plan B to urbanisation using wood (Kerto® LVL – laminated veneer lumber) as the main material. The task was to design a wooden extension to an existing urban building. The entries were designed to 69 cities worldwide.

Explore the designs