A research facility for soil remediation that integrates urban public functions with science-based explorations.
Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA
Treasure Island has the potential to become one of the city’s most beautiful and productive neighborhoods. Creating parks and open spaces will add value to the land. The purpose of the research center is to develop a variety of methods to remediate the contaminated soil on the island. The remediation fields will illustrate a range of options that could transform the land into recreational parks for the community. The concepts explore how soil remediation can provide opportunities for a healthy living space, as well as address environmental concerns. A research center would be a part of this larger development that would transform Treasure Island for decades to come. The research center is a project that integrates the sciences, economics and urban planning with education and an advocacy to support the public agenda.
The project also considers experimental fields of different sizes. Treasure Island was a dedicated naval port in the recent past which left the island with an overwhelming amount of contaminated soil. The toxic soil has permeated the entire island which is why it makes it the ideal site to create an urban testing ground using a variety of cutting edge methods to detoxify soil. The project seeks to achieve this by integrating indoor and outdoor recreation with experimental remediation, methods and it allows the public to be part of the discovery process.
Soilab Aerial View
Showing the research building along with the adjacent facilities
An exterior view from the pedestrian path
A view by the watefront
Showing the pedestrian path and the green hill facing the bay
A view of the front
Showing the research building and the library
Interior view in level 1
showing the "wildcards"
Interior view showing the labs
The view is taken in the open space, and it shows how the labs are embedded.
An Interior view from the lab
Conceptual Massing Diagram
Science Vs. Public
Mushrooms and Phytoremediation
A glimpse from the book
Model in process
Treasure Island model
showing the project massing in Green
Niko Hapa (I am here)
A Design Competition
A marketplace for refugees
The marketplace is a series of spaces for making, selling, learning and meeting. As a social hub, it is also designed as a central gathering place to facilitate these activities by gathering the local community around each block. The hub is located in the approximate center of a neighborhood block, and becomes the locus of neighborhood activities. Hubs in adjacent blocks develop sympathetic functions and larger connected activities, and these places may start to develop identities and reputations for their specific skill sets.
The first contributors to the marketplace will be those who actually contribute to the making of the market structure; in return they will accept in barter the goods and services of the individuals who will be occupying these spaces.
The form of the marketplace is presented as a square, enclosing a central gathering place for meeting, discussion, and communal tools and public events. The square is defined by a repetitive series of thick mud brick walls, each three meters apart, with a simple metal roof enclosing the collection of spaces. The interior space is divided between the exterior side for the selling of goods, and the interior side used for the production of goods.
The structure and construction
It is designed to be simple and easily-constructed with local materials and tools. While the formal system is simple, it is also designed to be flexible, able to accommodate smaller or larger functions, while providing the essential intention of creating a central place for market, and other social, activities.
Beyond its economic benefits, this plan develops a sense of independence and self-reliance; we assume that the refugees have knowledge and skills, and that they are able to grow and thrive with the proper tools and materials. In connecting individuals to others through selling, teaching, or collaborating, different groups will interact through relationships that respect abilities, and introduce each other to different means and methods that can lead to new formal and cultural practices.
In collaboration with tinkercraft and Eric Lum
Design Competition- Team work, In collaboration with tinkercraft.com and Architect Eric Lum
The Syrian refugee situation is a crisis of numbers: over 4.8 million refugees migrating out of Syria, thousands continue to arrive daily on Greek shores, and the humanitarian assistance supplied is wholly inadequate to handle their basic needs. Because of the implicit assumption that the relief efforts must be centralized, there are too few to help too many. Instead, we believe that the burden of relief must be distributed. This proposal presents a distributive strategy that aims to provide for basic needs. The elements are intended to be modular, interchangeable, and flexible.
There are two aspects to this proposal: the stationary and the transitory. The stationary element (the ‘transit station’) is comprised of courtyard housing which can be re-appropriated by the tourist economy - as Syrian migrants reach their Northern European destinations, the courtyard blocks, situated along the coasts of islands, can house tourists. The transitory element is comprised of lightweight solutions to shelter, mobility, and basic needs as Syrians migrate from one stop to the next throughout their journey.
The Stationary (‘Transit Station’)
The ‘transit station’ serves as way-stations for travelers to refresh supplies, use facilities, wash, and rest in a more fixed environment. Located along major migration routes, the stops are set up to serve families in a communal environment, sharing sleeping areas, resources, and information. The bathrooms utilize compost toilets that take waste in order to create clean methane gas for cooking, lighting, and electricity.
The Transitory (‘the Tent,’ ‘the Bicycle,’ ‘the Backpack’)
The tent, comprised of a lightweight aluminum tubular frame and waterproof fabric, is carried with each pack. Its shape loosely alludes to vernacular Syrian conical ‘beehive’ houses, adorned with contemporary decorative patterns that distinguish each unit.
The bicycle is the most efficient means of human transportation, and is able to carry individuals and their belongings long distances. They are designed to carry front and back loads, with specialized frames for a variety of tasks: a child carrier frame, a luggage frame, a multipurpose frame carrying additional items. The frames may be interchanged and connected together as needed. The backpack is the essential element refugees can carry with them through their migration, consisting of modular units, including an ‘option’ pack for different needs and situations, geared towards individuals who are able to provide specific functions and skills (i.e. a trauma pack may be carried by those who are able to provide emergency medical skills, while a baby pack may contain items such as diapers, wipes, and powdered milk.)
The stops are designed to recall elements of their former homes, synthesizing the sparsely geometric Greek courtyard with the more decorative elements of the Syrian courtyard typology. The variegated arches of the inner arcade reflect the dimensions of the corresponding rooms, offering outside shaded ‘alley’ areas to rest. Architectural details reflect the specific mixture of Greek and Syrian traditions within this building type.
If and when the refugee crisis is over in the future, it is envisioned that this typology will transition into rest areas and lodging for traveling tourists, and the buildings will become permanent markers that stand as a legacy of the Syrian migration.
This project was displayed at the Mohamed Ali Museum in the old city of Kavala, Greece
Example Courtyard Building Locations
Floor plan, section, elevation and axonometric view
Transit station occupied by Syrian refugees Vs. Tourists
Showing structural elements in the module
A Design Competition
Pape Nature Park Gateway
This proposal for a gateway that marks the entrance to a conserved wilderness area in Latvia encompasses camping grounds, housing for staff, and workplaces for scientists.
The site Intgrates man with nature by elevating a metal grate deck 3m above the ground which provides various experienes for guests to enjoy nature activities from camping in style to bird watching. Indoor spaces are wood boxes striking through the deck, accessed from the lower space.
Sunlight penetrates through the grid of the deck and through the larger openings that accommodate tree growth.
Taking cost into consideration, local wood was used, and the grid spacing in the metal mesh could be adjusted.
Amsterdam Children's Playschool
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Welkom bij Kindren Huis! The design of this children's daycare center -located on Amsterdam's Het Stenen Hoofd Pier- is inspired by the Dutch's openluchtschool's movement: the use of natural light and open space to further early childhood development. The daycare's design is as elegant as it is purposeful: children will better thrive in architecture that reflects our natural world, in a space surrounded by air and sunlight.
Kindren Huis is designed with an integrative connection to the surrounding environment, and incorporates into its layout a view of the Het Stenen Hoofd Pier's surrounding waterways as well as extensive greenery throughout the building's five terraced levels. Like a forest or garden, Kindren Huis is a quiet, open, natural space where young people can breathe, play, co-exist, and learn with an intrinsic connection to their natural world.
The Kindren Huis building is designed with an eye on maximizing outdoor luminescence through the use of extensive skylights. And in keeping with Aldo van Dyck's tradition of converting unused lots into playgrounds, the building plan takes on a vertical shape, maximizing views while minimizing its footprint. Each of the building's five levels serves a purpose: the first level is a culture center; the second is reserved for faculty and administration; the remaining upper levels are reserved for children's educational and recreational usage. All terraced floors are connected via ramps instead of steps, allowing for children to safely move throughout their environment.
What better way to prepare Dutch children for a future that is increasingly reliant on an understanding of our climate, than by allowing them a developmental space that is deeply connected to the sunlight and water of their native Amsterdam?
Showing the open play area and reading area
A Design Competition
A cabin for the diverse landscape along Latvia’s Amber Road.
Dzintars Nest is a cluster of cabins for gathering and lodging along the trails of Latvia’s Amber Road. This timber cabin is both embedded in the surrounding landscape and announces itself as a humble monument, paying tribute to and respecting its context.
A series of CLT panels provide a well-insulated and spacious cabin that is simultaneously sculptural, faceted to reflect the facets of ambers along this road. Tinted circular windows frame selective views outward.
The cabin is designed based around a 3 meter x 3 meter module, which can fit two people comfortably. An additional loft space provides space for an additional two hikers.
In the future, as more hikers begin to traverse Amber Road, additional cabins can be assembled together in clusters. Different configurations of the cabin placements can respond to the topography, solar orientation, or other environmental features.
Materials + Construction:
CLT construction is the most appropriate material for this proposal, considering the abundance of wood that can be sustainably sourced from the surrounding region, as well as the insulating properties of this material. The panels can also be prefabricated off-site and assembled on-site, minimizing construction costs.
A smaller loft area above the lower level provides a sleeping place for two additional hikers. Access to the upper level is through a rope ladder attached to the loft. A circular amber-tinted window on each level colors the surrounding landscape.
The cabin is designed to sit on four legs, allowing for height modification based on the nature of the site. Cabins can be installed on a terrain or a flat land. A skylight allows for star-gazing, and photovoltaic cells on the roof provide all the necessary power needed for hikers to charge their devices.
In collaboration with tinkercraft and Rolando Borrayo
Design Cpmpetiton- Team work, In Collaboration with Tinkercraft.com
The icebox is an architectural solution to develop an accommodation unit that can be situated at any location across the Iceland's various trekking trails. It's designed to house 10 occupants in Iceland. The cabin is constructed from locally manufactured cross laminated timber. The material was chosen because of its inherent structural integrity and for its easy construction.
Bedrooms and restrooms surround the interior living space, thereby providing a naturally insulated gathering area for people. Skylights are numerous to provide abundant daylight, and their shapes are inspired from the surrounding landscape, while providing a 'jewel box' approach to the diverse Icelandic terrain.
Solar panels connected to a generator, heat radiation in the platform, and the grey water system all provide an energy- efficient cabin. The low ceilings allow the cabin to store the heat in the winter, while the water system offers drinking water station.
An exterior view of icebox
Icebox view and elevations
A view showing icebox under the polar light
Icebox installed near the sea
The interior of the cabin
Design Competition Team work, In collaboration with tinkercraft.com
Elementary school, Cool School
This proposal directly responds to the severe climate conditions of the site through passive heating strategies, while providing a place for children that promotes curiosity and joy through activating spaces. Classrooms and restrooms are distinct volumes that are placed inside a larger space in a way that organizes that larger volume into two flexible areas: a lounge/reading area and a gym/hall for bigger gatherings.
The classrooms are distinct volumes inside the larger space. The ceiling height for the two classrooms should be lower than that of the main gym/hall in order to retain heat within each classroom, since hot air naturally rises to the very top of a space. Should the budget allow for it, the inclusion of a clerestory above the classroom can allow additional light to enter the gym/hall.
Also, should the budget allow, the upper portion of each classroom volume can contain acrylic panels that allow daylight entering into the classrooms to continue into the rest of the spaces. Where possible, operable windows that can provide natural ventilation throughout the classrooms and main gym/hall should be used.
For materials, locally-sourced adobe is used generously. Exaggerating the thickness of the adobe walls, both interior and exterior ones, ensures that, in a harsh climate such as that of this particular site, heat from the sun and from the activities generated by the students throughout all program areas is actually retained.
The optimism in this proposal is that it offers an environment rooted in the needs of the children and their education. It not only offers basic classrooms but spaces that can be activated by the children based on their desired activities while offering them an envelope that keeps the temperature stable and the daylight plentiful.
The unexpected additional thickness of the adobe walls along the interior can be used for storage, by framing out shelving systems within the adobe wall itself. Covering these storage areas with large wooden doors or curtains can help relieve the clutter, but even keeping the storage areas open is enough to separate classroom and gym-related items from the students’ active zones.
In collaboration with tinkercraft
View into the gym/hall looking South
Interior classroom view
Main entry (North)
Sustainable strategies and the phasing diagram
Interior design of a research lab in Palo Alto, California
The O. Village
A co housing Project - Team work
Hayes Valley, San Francisco
The concept behind the project, “O.Village”, came from the idea of preserving an area for the trees to grow naturally without the architect’s interference. The idea of having an oval-shaped retaining wall distinguishes a man’s creation from what is left naturally to grow. The program was organized where the hotel, and the retail shops are placed along Octavia Blvd., and Fell St., closer to the existing retails, and commercial shops of Hayes Valley.
A view overlooking the hotel
A view overlooking O.village courtyard
A view from the hotel terrace
Plans and Elevations
Residence floor plans
Wallsection through the vertical garden
showing the hydropolic technique
Residential over commerical project (VA-IIA)
1751 Fulton St, San Francisco
This work was produced At IB+A office, 2015
The project is located in the panhandle district in San Francisco. It contains 9 units above a restaurant. The use of the simple lines and the materials in the facade gives the project its modern appearance. The structure is a concrete podium with wood frame above.