2018 THE VIRGINIA ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE

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STACKED VILLAGE

Andre Grospe | ARCH 2020 | Spring 2018

Columbia Heights as a site for future development poses a series of difficult problems. First it is undergoing rapid gentrification, forcing one to think of dense, affordable housing solutions while still maintaining Washington D.C.’s strict building limitations. Second is the grain of the neighborhood itself. Most of the houses are simple townhouses capped below fifty feet. The challenge was to find a new typology of urban housing, one that could slip into the urban fabric without disturbing the surrounding neighborhood. This approach allows a slow, relatively non-invasive transformation of the site, where derelict, abandoned, or community owned structures can be rebuilt in accordance with this density focused scheme.

The Stacked Village began in the footprint of an existing 5 story apartment building in need of renovation. Sprouting from it are two macro-units composed of four separate smaller units of varying size. This scheme accomplishes two goals. First, the creation of a singular macro unit allows one to implement the project on a wide variety of scales, utilizing different aggregation techniques. Second, the scheme, through a careful choice of exterior connecting stairs, helps foster a sectional relationship between each other, creating void spaces of varying privacy in the hopes of fostering a strong bond between the tenants of this space.