Extending the View
A Void Metabolism: High-rise Housing
401 Options Studio Spring 2008
Instructor: Mark Lee

This studio investigated the potential of void organizations in architecture through a study of metabolist architecture and a research trip to Tokyo. Our findings were subsequently applied to the re-design of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’habitation on a site in Marina del Rey. The choice of the Unité was significant in that it pushes density to its maximum, raising questions about the benefits of such optimal efficiency.

In my own project, I took inspiration from Ryue Nishizawa’s Moriyama House, which architecturalizes the urban phenomenon of borrowed views. By purposefully staggering small buildings within a housing block, as one would find in an ad hoc fashion on the streets of Tokyo, Nishizawa extends sight lines from each unit. My project permeates the solid block of Le Corbusier’s Unité housing with light and air by staggering units and cutting through floor plates. An impact of this strategy is that sight lines from apartment units are extended beyond walls that would typically block views. The building preserves density while using void space to expand the spatial experience by extending it visually.

View from an apartment unit

Building exterior

Concept based on Moriyama House

Diagrams of extended sight lines

Section perspective