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1st place

micro housing competition

denver, usa

2013 . project


architecture . joão teles barbosa in collaboration for

                      sac - studio de arquitectura y ciudad                                                                                                                                                                                                                    


Micro Urban

Taking an Urban Design Approach to Micro-Housing


This project takes advantage of its location by providing an urban design approach to Denver’s downtownriver while harvesting tall grasses during the summer months for the cold winter season. During the springseason, as warmer temperatures rise, the building units shed their secondary walls into the South Palletriver at various locations throughout the downtown core. These ‘pods’ provide several different functionsduring the summer depending on their location on the river. These functions include: harvesting smallmouth and large mouth fish, bass and trout are reintroduced to the river for anglers and natural riverecology; Cleaning the water with native thick grass plants through natural processes; Serve as a kayakcheckpoints where kayakers can tie up their boats to relax, have lunch and check the weather and riverclimate via kiosks and wifi; Harvest energy with highly efficient energy river turbines running off the naturalflow of the river; Provide walking areas for learning tours and for children to learn about the river, fishharvesting and sustainability. The most important of these functions however, and the one that effects ourproject site most is the harvesting of tall grasses. These ‘pods’ are fixed sizes, 4’ x 8’ and are attached tothe building units during the fall and winter months to increase insulation and keep in warmth created insidethe units. Come spring time, they are released back into the river for another cycle of plant growth.

We used a metaphor of tree houses for the structure and unit concept - the tree providing a groundingstructure while the units are built freely throughout its branches. As the units are built, open spaces occurcreating a community environment for the users. These open spaces could be used for community BBQ’s,playgrounds for children, exercising or community gardens. The scaffolding like structure provides flexibilityto the users while aesthetically creating a light weight structural frame, touching the ground in only specificstrategic locations. Freeing up the ground floor creates a public spaces with a wide variety of uses, such asa public market connecting to the TAXI development and a theater for movies and lectures.

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