The Cluster | Micro neighborhood
The office of Los Angeles Mayor, and Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles, have launched a design challenge that invites architects and landscape architects to imagine progressive, appealing models of low-rise, multi-family housing in America’s second-most populous city.
With a focus on affordability, sustainability, and “confronting historical patterns of racial and environmental injustice in housing policy in Southern California.
"The Cluster" rethinks the idea of “what housing should look like,” the design concept has been considered the listening sessions as a keystone, where communities explained to the participating architects what they’d like to see in their neighborhoods and asking for their help in turning those ideas into a series of design proposals.
Taking the "listening sessions" lessons into consideration, the morphological shape of the project is designed to be a micro-neighborhood inside the neighborhood in a way that is aesthetically appropriate to the older neighborhoods it’s in or adjacent to, in addition to meeting newer technical thresholds.
As a multi-family compound which located mild-to-hot and mostly dry climate as Loa Angeles, the implantation is key: dividing the different sectors of the residence in smaller volumes, positioned them in strategic places within the site,
With that, the project had been turned in to itself, as a multi-patios cluster of houses. The purpose of this is the discussion between interior and exterior spaces: in order to create positive tensions between the built and the building void, attributing to each different characteristics.
The possibility of shifting the shading and protection of different parts of the residence according to the occasion or need is another artifice that intensifies the apprehension of external spaces as part of the building and part of the residents’ routine.
This use of easily-moved, remote-controlled parts allows for much-desired transparency in large stretches of the residence in a very warm, sun-bathed location, controlling the spatiality of shaded space.
This Low-rise multifamily village offers a way to add units at a significant volume while also providing immediate access to gardens and other shared outdoor spaces, where socializing is less dangerous than interiors when it comes to COVID-19,” reads the overview. “It gives residents places to quarantine—in second, third, or fourth units separate from a main house, for example—without leaving the household or neighborhood altogether.
In addition, the design has adopted "Bungalow courts" which provide naturally cooler space yards in parallel with encouraging social communication between residents through various social activities such as, shared gardens, open-air cinema, gathering spaces, fitness zones, playgrounds, golf zone, barbeque space, and many other "shared" services, like a workshop cabinet, shared storage, and shared laundry room.
“The Cluster” is a Multi-family residential compound scheme consist of 6 residential units above ground-floor. Evoking the lush landscape of Los Angeles, the scheme becomes a “ village” with residential units “clustering”& integrating with nature. Peaking above the landscaped envelope, a cluster of white façaded, irregular-shaped windows and gabled-roof structures create a dynamic neighborhood, and a playful, witty, though simple.
“The Cluster” offers a variety of different housing typologies: two studios, three condominiums, one villa. This healthy mixture results in a high sense of community, and a feeling of individuality and exclusiveness even in this small-scale development. Unlike traditional apartment schemes, each unit has its own independent entry/exit circulation route, while almost every unit features a pitched-roof volume with dynamic interior expressions.
Residents of “The Cluster” are welcomed via ground-floor entrances along the street. The entrances adopt the atmosphere of a jungle; a dim, environment where residents are led on a journey through a “forest” of dense trees, light, shadow, and the sound of water.
Enclosed by this cluster of pitched-roofed “houses”, the ground floor courtyard forms a scatter landscaped gathering space for the small community. With careful consideration given to the distance, orientation, and arrangement of balconies overlooking the courtyard, the result is a private, tranquil, convenient interaction between residents and the “Courtyards” which they share.
In response to the high exposure to solar radiation, and privacvy aspects. A courtyard is created at the back of the house to screen the house and at the same time let light and ventilation in, reduce the number of openings towards surrounding streets.
The minimal playful façade offers a variety of choices in creating various qualities of space: closed spaces, terraces, niches. It allows the use of a variety of materials: wood, aluminum lattices and glass panes. The flexibility in materials creates diversity and the possibility to adjust to the products that are offer affordability element.
The structure is based on a 3×3 m grid
a. Structural simplicity
b. Flexibility in the arrangement of spaces
c. A playful arrangement of rectangles on the facade
The Grid becomes the formal identity of the building and renders it recognizable in its urban environment.