Mon­terey Hous­ing Competition

July 2014

The choice of site

This pro­pos­al is for the coastal cities of Mon­terey. Sit­u­at­ed in an extra­or­di­nary land­scape, the cities them­selves, except for Carmel and Mon­terey of course, are not famous for their nat­ur­al beau­ty, though they have great poten­tial giv­en their loca­tions. Towns such as Sea­side, Mari­na and Sand city seem dor­mi­to­ry cities for Carmel and Mon­terey, but have grown too large and expen­sive to be just that. Though the cities are very dif­fer­ent, we found one com­mon denom­i­na­tor, name­ly the high­ways, and large roads.

The brief sug­gests mov­ing away from use of car, and tries to encour­age peo­ple to use pub­lic trans­port. How­ev­er the only pub­lic trans­port avail­able is the bus, which uses the high­way. The high­ways there­fore seem impor­tant as traf­fic arter­ies. The high­way also gives a first impres­sion of town and land­scape. ). High­way one pass­es the most extra­or­di­nary stretch­es of beach and park near the sea. Unfor­tu­nate­ly build­ings along the high­way are unin­spir­ing and ugly devel­op­ments. Built cheap­ly and quick­ly, these devel­op­ments are usu­al­ly accom­pa­nied by large car parks. 

It thus seemed to make most sense to use the high­way, rather than ignore it, and cre­ate liv­ing and work­ing cen­tres off the high­way, espe­cial­ly since the assign­ment was to think of a gener­ic devel­op­ment which can be applied all over Amer­i­ca. The high­way is an Amer­i­can insti­tu­tion, and has cre­at­ed new build­ing typolo­gies before.

Our pro­pos­al tack­les the sites along the high­ways, and is an attempt to cre­ate good hous­ing, in an (sub)urban set­ting, acces­si­ble to pub­lic trans­port. The scheme can also be imple­ment­ed in the near future, because it uses what-is-already-there, and is not depen­dent on new infrastructure.. 

The scheme

The scheme con­sists of a long wall (up to 200 meters long, 6 meters high and 16 meters wide), as a buffer from the high­way, in which park­ing, for peo­ple who do have cars, and cafés and shops, The archi­tec­ture of the wall is neu­tral, the wall looks like a dike, or a fortress, but roofs and signs and bill­boards can be added, if desired by the com­mu­ni­ty. At the end the wall bends and in the bend there is room for oth­er func­tions, such as a school, a small the­atre, a health cen­tre, or maybe a tourist centre. 

In front of the wall, is a wood­en plat­form, an ele­ment in itself, which is a pub­lic square, from there are paths to the dif­fer­ent hous­ing units. The square is set in a park like land­scape. The wall and the square, thus form a town cen­tre peo­ple can walk to. Since they are close to the high­way, bus­es will stop here as well, and in some loca­tions light rail­ways can be implemented. 

Around the square, hous­ing blocks of fifty meters length, by nine meters are loose­ly placed in the land­scape. Each block con­sists of five hous­es each. Each house is dif­fer­ent but made up of the same ele­ments and built around a patio. This means the blocks can stand quite close to each oth­er to achieve high den­si­ty (up to 12 units per acre). The hous­es are all one sto­ry high, except for one type, which is a stu­dio house and has extra liv­ing space on the top floor. The den­si­ty of the blocks can decrease towards the edge when the set­tle­ment would be close to the ocean. The hous­es can be extend­ed with a back­yard fac­ing the ocean. The hous­es all have a small porch in front of their patio, and are slight­ly raised from the ground, thus seem to float in a landscape. 

The hous­ing blocks are made in wood and steel­frames. The hous­es are stan­dard­ised and can be eas­i­ly assem­bled. Because they are raised there is not too much foun­da­tion work need­ed, plus minor slopes can be dealt with. 

The scheme

The scheme has to be adapt­ed per loca­tion, and accord­ing to the needs of the local com­mu­ni­ty. There­fore it seemed to make sense to design a cou­ple of strong ele­ments, which do ful­fil the require­ments of qual­i­ty and infra­struc­ture, but which are flex­i­ble, and can be changed. This pro­pos­al describes the ele­ments of the scheme, and gives one pos­si­ble sce­nario, for sand city, where the high­way almost meets the ocean. Many oth­er sce­nar­ios are think­able however.

Envi­ron­ment:

On top of the wall, solar pan­els can be laid to pro­vide part of the elec­tric­i­ty for the neigh­bour­hood. Light­ing inside the park­ing area can be nat­ur­al, and though glass fibres.

The land­scape sur­round­ing the hous­es is to be with grass­es and plants, which do not need much water.

In the land­scape dirty water and rain­wa­ter recy­clers can be placed, the water from which can be used to flush toilets.