URBANBuild 15’s research agenda developed as a critical continuation of the previous year’s accomplishments. In addition, another aspect of research focused upon the creation of a prototype that could be repeated side by side, thus producing dense urban multifamily options resulting in duplex, triplex, or extended multifamily assemblies.
The base single-story unit possesses two bedrooms and two baths, and schematic developments critically questioned the need for the two courtyards of UB14. Instead, UB15 possesses a single generous open-air courtyard that is located as a continuation of the entryway porch that’s roofed by a translucent cladding system. Similar to UB14, the roof form also brings water to the courtyard.
Light and air are dispersed throughout the home via that interior courtyard; doors and windows are extruded front to back through the scheme’s footprint. This axis, from entry to the courtyard to back bedroom to back porch, allows the cross ventilation to be maximized. As for material strategies, this axial hierarchy is expressed through exposed structural beams, finished with a stained tongue and groove surfacing.
The scheme was constructed as a full-scale model aiming to test its potential as an infill townhouse unit; hence no windows are found on the long alley facades; those walls are simply clad with vertical corrugated metal panels. In addition, the project was fabricated using a 24 inch “smart framing” strategy, and that resulted in reduced material needs. The use of this structural system, in combination with reduced window quantities and a possible multifamily assembly separated by shared party walls, could lead to a truly affordable housing strategy – still in possession of the qualities initiated by URBANbuild14.
Despite the setbacks and limitations of the Covid-19 pandemic, the URBANbuild team and lead faculty Byron Mouton successfully completed UB15 in early May of 2020.