pleated densification : accessory dwelling infill

*with Nayoung Kim and John Voekel*

The premise of this project is to re-populate low density residential areas in US cities.  Urban lots zoned as single-family (R1) represent a substantial and highly underutilized land area for infill.  The parametric, prefabricated accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is the agent of this densification. Through this infill process, the ADU could counteract rampant development, while also supporting local ecologies, energy efficiency, and social engagement. 

The ADU is a parasite of sorts, taking ground from its host. In return, it supports the host site’s water management, reduces heating and cooling loads, produces energy, and irrigates vegetation. The ADU operates at the intersection of this system-wide zoning opportunity, local open space networks, and site-specific hydrology. 

In four sample cities, Austin, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, the confluence of single-family lots, intermittant streams, and open space networks instantiates the ADU on select sites. Solar orientation and the existing dwelling determine the ADU siting. Precipitation, temperature, soil type, wind and vegetation parametrically control the amplitude and wavelength of the pleated system to collect stormwater and create thermal mass.

The center of this thesis preparation studio was the methodology—Nicholas DeMonchaux's Local Code—using data and parameters to reveal conditions, select sites, and generate form via GIS and Rhino. 

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