Houston Fifth Ward Planning

Location: Houston Fifth Ward, Texas
Program: Residential

above, hold-out photo map

Research & Analysis

The hold-out is located in the Houston Fifth Ward. Unfortunately, there are a lot of problems existing in this area such as high crime rate, no access to fresh food, abandoned houses and vacant blocks.

above, hold-out in context
above, hold-out analysis diagram

Nearly 1/4 of the intersections are removed. Thus, streets get to be continued and blocks to be extended and connected. Intersections are usually get removed at certain blocks where public programs cannot fit in one block or two. They also get removed or, in other words, undefined at vacant places. The one way intersections are the essence of the spinal organization and create the form of an “h".


above, intersection analysis diagram

Two way intersections indicate the corner condition and are located at the place where there is an exchange of programs between private and public. Three way intersections are a crucial identifying factor of this area, dominating mostly the peripheries. This particular corner contains most of the commercial program within this area. In spite of its proximity to major roads and the concentration of stores, streets adjacent this corner do not have a high concentration of traffic.


above, intersection analysis diagram

The organization of four way intersections is more grid like and the majority of these intersections organize the housing program into a grid.


Clearing Strategy

The design proposal for this project is comprised of two steps: firstly developing a clearing strategy for the areas around the hold-out (hold-out is untouched in this project), and secondly designing a reconstructing system that can be implemented easily to transform the surroundings to eco-friendly and high-efficient communities.

above, design concept
above, clearing diagram

The pixelization system is used since it reaches more areas while keeping the same amount of cleared blocks. What’s more, because of the nature of pixels, it allows certain blocks untouched for a natural growth. There is also a specificity to the uncleared pixels based on the site depending on what people want to keep.

above, clearing phase diagram

Due to the flexibility of the system, this clearing logic can be implemented beyond the next fifty years throughout the fifth ward.


Reconstructing Strategy
above, UPA studies

above, configurations at 100 UPA

While the darker black represents a 48-story highrise, the lighter grey represents a midrise of 16 floors. Four buildings can be organized into one block to maximize the green coverage. Clusters are formed to anchor the pixels because of the strong form that brings regularity to the irregularity of the pixels. The goal for this project was to achieve a UPA between 80-120, and the diagrammatic studies shows that a 100 UPA gives more varieties and complexities.

above, growth diagram

In first 10 years from 2010s, around 112 blocks around hold-out are cleared and 7 crosses are organized into 2 clusters to achieve a UPA of 100. A path is proposed in the beginning which also extends into future. In the second 10 years, a cluster of three crosses are added and in the third 10 years, a cluster of 4 crosses are constructed. In the fourth 10 years, the clearing expands in all directions and influences the larger context.

above, plantation diagram

Different types of plantation create different urban environments. The environments allow for a different logic on where they are placed.The bamboo is a farm used for carbon sequestration. The pine is a forest and the oak is a park. The lifespan of these three plantations is studied above. While the bamboo is most dynamic because of its short lifespan, the oak is the most static with the longest lifespan. The pine is in between and therefore a transition.

above, combination studies

Project Design
above, site plan

The final site plan is not tied to one scale but engages all three levels of resolution, from the overall city scape to the individula housing block. The rendered site plan shows the interaction between all scales, as well as its relation to the context and hold-out.

above, module diagram
above, module A diagram
above, module B diagram
above, module C diagram
above, combined module diagram

Combining unit modules into one plan creates larger area of public space.

above, partial section

A logic of organization in section derived from the nature of module types. Module A, being the most public and engaging unit, is always on the bottom. Module C, as the opposite is always on the top. Module B is transition type that can be found at any level.