The project attempts to rethink the relationship between the urban grid system and the housing typology—the constraints of the urban grid limit housing typologies. With respect to the uniform order in the urban system, few variations in housing typology limit more requirements on human life in the contemporary city, which gives a chance for housing complex to set up solitary buildings separated from the urban environment. The tension between housing typology and the urban grid system has reached a dilemma in the balance between the city environment and human life. The Canal Community speculates a dynamic housing typology on a new complementary urban system.
As a result of the industrial decay, the previous vitality in this Gowanus canal area has gone and left land underutilized. The devalued land under the existing urban order needs to be improved to achieve vitality and prosperity with two goals: 1. challenge the old urban system by new complementary system surrounding the canal; 2. propose a relatively dynamic dwelling environment to accommodate the complexity of human life. The Canal Community will set up a new urban order, which improves the living quality and shape a new community identity in Gowanus.
The Canal Community proposes new typologies with respect to the new urban order. These typologies are consequently synthesized in one coherent system. The design process requires the negotiation and resolution of the tension between forms and spital systems.