Graduate Work at RISD
Romantic Futures

Romantic Futures is an exploration of futurism, shared housing, and environmental engagement. The proposed shared housing project is located in the downtown area of Providence, Rhode Island. Instead of occupying more ground, in an already densely developed area, this project proposes to use an existing structure as its foundation.

The design process began with creating a basic unit layout that minimized the use of utilities while maximizing private space. Each occupant can enjoy the privacy of a single family home, while taking advantage of the positive aspects of communal living. The basic unit layout began as a cube. The cube was then broken into segments, creating openings to allow for circulation. The spaces towards the inside of the cube are private, and as you move outwards they become more shared and public. As these basic units overlap, the pattern creates unique opportunities for vertical circulation, movement between programs. Strictly adhering to this patterned parti also allowed for a visually structured form. The pattern was also deployed at smaller scales, informing the interior of each unit layout.

There is only one unit design, which repeats thru out the housing structure. In order to create an efficient circulation flow on each floor, the units were arranged in an undulating pattern, alternating entrance levels for the units.Each unit has a main entrance on the first level, into the shared, common space. As you move into the unit, and up, the space becomes more private. The units are centered around a tree, or living space, which acts as the modern day central hearth.

The cube, once manipulated, allows for many private space tucked away out of view. Situated under the stairs in this living space, is a hammock and study area. The second level of each unit consists of two private rooms, two private bathrooms, and one shared shower. The bathrooms are organized to minimize the amount of water used. There is only one shower, however, each occupant has totally private entry, and can lock the shared door, to show that the shower is in use. The occupants are sharing utilities, while benefiting from the amenities of a private space. Each bedroom has a view outside, and also a view onto the tree the apartment unit is centered around.

The proposed housing project is an imagination of what the future of housing may look like for urban dwellers. Using existing buildings as a base, these modular units can be built up as needed. Each unit reuses the water to feed the tree, which promotes clean air and gives each occupant a sense of connection to nature, even when in an urban setting.

As the structure grows in height, some units are removed from the pattern. Vertical gardens and solar harvesting are placed in these voids, with some units being devoted to the management of these urban farming spaces.