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P4763 Masters in Real Estate and Development: Envisioning Studio 2012 STUDIO PROGRAM COURSE DESCRIPTION How does

one look at a development project site and quickly create a vision taking into account basic design, construction and finance long before it is built? This process of envisioning is both creative and analytical. The studio portion of this course simulates a development package from site analysis to building proposal, in order to outline and teach a process by which to develop a building project that takes into account both design and construction as well as basic financial and social factors. Every development project is unique in terms of regulations, financial parameters, locations, communities, histories and environmental conditions. However, there can be an overall consistent process that a developer uses to propose a project. This envisioning studio process is one of the main goals of this course of study. Questions such as what is the most profitable use; the site/location suitability; the potential user and their means; buildable area; and the point at which the land price is optimized are put into play in order to experiment with and train the process of visualizing what is possible for any project. The Envisioning studio is a unique intellectual process of design thinking and value definition as applied to a comprehensive definition of real estate in which architecture necessarily plays a vital role. Verbal and graphic skills are stressed as necessary counterparts to financial proficiency. Each student proposes a development plan derived from the specific programmatic, formal, environmental, community, and financial decisions explored during the course of the studio. The studio design project takes into consideration site strategies, programmatic narratives, spatial and regulatory massing, floor planning, egress and circulation, all while considering the overall communicability of the project. Through a series of workshops, information is presented to familiarize the student with the concepts of design at the scales of urban, landscape and architectural design. ability to interpret, manage and orient these overlapping sources of information not only provides common ground for defining value between design, construction and finance, but also parallels the professional process as it tracks multiple and overlapping information and priorities. STUDIO PROJECT: Redevelopment of the Former Con Edison Site Four city blocks, just south of the United Nations along the East River, offer a rare opportunity for a major redevelopment in Midtown Manhattan. The former Con Edison power stations were decommissioned in 2001, and the rights to develop the site were secured by East River Realty Company (ERRC). ERRC has proposed 6.3 million square feet of development for the site in a mix of residential and office buildings. The plan for the closed waterside plant now occupying a prime site along the East River has the latent potential to become a true community resource and open space destination tied into the surrounding neighborhoods and connected to the East River. The redevelopment of the former Con Edison Site offers the opportunity to: Connect to the city and build safe pedestrian links to First Avenue and along the East River Reach the river by building a public waterfront park over FDR Drive and link existing riverfront esplanades to the north and south. Create a memorable place with a distinct civic identity and with public spaces and activities that attract visitors as well as nearby residents and workers.

What does the scale of this site have the capacity to contain and what might it produce? The scale may be interpreted in many ways: an accumulation of small installations speculating a big impact or something of a tremendous dimension and scale.
0. WORKSHOP GOALS Provide an awareness of the research libraries, technological resources, software, printing and other reproduction methods available to the MsRED students at GSAPP. Provide an understanding of the range of methods communicated through 2D drawings. Learn how to use plans, sections and axonometric drawings of the underlying organization of structure, circulation, material, interior and exterior spaces to communicate at a level on which the abstraction of architectural drawing is clearly understood. Provide an understanding of the underlying construction of 3D and perspective drawings. Included in this should be the ideas of depth (foreground, background), layering, hierarchy, and the differences between diagrams and views.


Provide an awareness of all the site documentation provided for the studio. Provide an understanding of the difference between massing produced through FAR Restrictions, FAR Opportunities and what is actually built. Provide proposed zoning variations specific to the site with examples of how these alternate regulations may be developed. Zoning regulations should become a design tool. Provide an understanding of rough model making in blue foam or cardboard and how to accomplish 3D printing that is available to MsRED students at the GSAPP Fabrication Lab. Provide methods for using the financial conditions of a development as a schematic or back of the envelope set of assumptions and constituents into a summarized description and specific pro forma. Provide an understanding that each element of the built environment is subject to and negotiating multiple and overlapping constituents. Design thinking is where opportunity is less about importing ideas than about the potential to generate opportunities by recombining resources. This value documentation is to trace parcels, ownership, historic zoning and land use, and proposed zoning and land-use using both graphic and diagrammatic information. The presentation requirements for the final review address work that codifies this ongoing valuation in a search in which one does not know precisely what one is looking for but recognizes intuition as a learned and acted-upon decision-making process that provides an absolute analysis, which means one that is both internal and simple.

Courtesy of /\ \/\/ /\ /\, 2007 Project Camlon

I. SITE WORK Land planning is the analysis of large parcels of land for development purposes and the allocation of parcels of a site for various types of development and other land uses. It is crucial in determining how a site may be used. Land planning issues include those of: soil conditions; compaction and load bearing; groundwater and storm water runoff; grade and slope; cut and fill; vehicular access; pedestrian access; visibility and views; adjacencies; wetlands; brown-fields; natural features; and utilities. The Envisioning Studios asks various questions to understand land planning. What are the physical factors that affect the feasibility and cost of developing land? How do you determine the carrying capacity of a site relative to the natural ecosystem? How do natural features influence development decisions? How do climactic features influence site design? Which design professionals participate in land planning? What does a land development plan look like? What information does it provide?

Program layer diagrams, Fresh Kills Park, Field Operations

Any design proposal does more than simply solve a given set of immediate conditions. A design proposal at the scale of the city embodies a position about, and has consequences for, urban life and urban form. The term program has a more open-ended meaning than when applied to a single building. Programming involves a process of ascribing value to different needs, demands and desires. This project will be the result of negotiating between, and determining the relative value of, various possible urbanisms. At the scale of the city, the term site also has broad implications. Boundaries are both political and ideological points of contestation. Consider how intervening in a specific site initiates a larger plan and longer-term vision through both urban and architecturally scaled propositions. Knowing a place is a different kind of knowledge than simply measuring it, but measuring that place is integral to knowing it. II. PROGRAM NARRATIVE Buildings are developed to serve a purpose. Whether privately funded with profit as the developers motive or publicly funded with social value as an objective, each building must offer usable space for the function that it is intended to serve. Developing a detailed building program is one method for insuring that all functional requirements of a prospective building are taken into account during the design process. Depending on the individual critic, modes of analysis may be formal, historical or programmatic. The purpose of analysis is to demonstrate familiarity with site issues for various constituents, advocates and community groups. The intention is to articulate a grounded critique/set of questions about the existing site conditions, the sites urban potentials, and expectations about future development in the city.

Program, Clusters and Ecology, Greenpoint Fairways Project, 2010 Courtesy of EMA

III. PROGRAM MASSING, ZONING & REGULATIONS In the United States, real estate development is a highly regulated process. Taxes, labor law, property law, public infrastructure, environmental regulation, financial market operations, zoning, building permits, and impact fees all issue from legislation. Regulatory controls that directly affect the use and physical configuration of buildings are typically found in the local zoning resolution and/or subdivision and site plan review requirements for development projects. Increasingly, however, states are asserting their role through growth and environmental controls that also affect building design. Design is by nature a complex endeavor with immediate as well as long-term effects. Proposals at the city scale involve negotiations between public and private interests; global, regional and local forces and needs; collective and individual expression. The process confronts us with many potentially conflicting demands involving, among other things, rights (individual vs. collective), design language (personal versus common), design focus (landscape, building form, infrastructure systems), and design attitude (traditional versus progressive). Looking at and receiving the incredible amount of information available on this project and at this institution, one begins to understand that information is promiscuous. GIS information can be made to make any number of arguments. Looking at organizational systems from critical points of top-down versus bottom-up systems lends itself towards a numbing and overwhelming inability to simply keep track of the process. These are the cards dealt in the studio and the questions asked thus far. In playing those cards one is able to sort, exchange and play them in any number of ways. Learning rules is a stable, almost comfortable, exercise. Understanding, or gaming, the rules is a much more intuitive process learned through the active, unstable relationships present in playing.

Existing Program 2009, Courtesy of VCDC an d Site Perspective Diagram, 2010 Courtesy of L. Conover

The studio takes on a project vision by understanding that the city scale is unfamiliar and presents other opportunities beyond measuring the existing city in hopes of knitting it together into an understood whole. In many ways meaning through repair is a conceptual project that celebrates type. If the city is a radical phenomenon then is there a project of providing meaning to the city by organizing it around the contributions possible by such phenomenon proposed in this project? The organization of fragments, both present and proposed, are like the familiar phenomena in studio, where projects, precedent studies, programs or materials take on meaning made present by the relative structure holding them together. This is an a-conceptual project that asks for the intuitive, responsive or observed to be a design operation. These fragmented conditions are organized not only to serve analysis, but also to maneuver as a technique or the means to align, test and discover the possibilities of cards dealt, or in this case, networks explored.

Parametric Zoning, 2010 GA and Grand Central Zoning/Massing Case study, 2010 Courtesy of R. Lovett & J. Simon


IV. FLOORPLATES TYPOLOGY Buildings can be categorized by use or typology. Typologies are fundamental instruments for constructing urban patterns and spatial forms. In the study of real estate development, it is useful to understand the principles of building typologies that can be applied to an initial analysis of a project site. Building design typologies usually focus on mixed-use, residential and commercial. It is a goal to understand building typology and its intersection as a real estate product and commodity of capital investment in the context of architecture, regulation and physical planning/design of urban form. Understanding typologies aids in the assessment of whether the standard residential building reflects the best design thinking or if alternative forms are to be considered. Through an iterative, repetitive process the objective is to discover the aberrant, or nonintuitive, different conditions that communicate and argue for the conceptual design position taken by the project.

Core, and Floor Plate Studies, 2010 Courtesy of KPF International

V. VALUE ANALYSIS Provide methods for using the financial conditions of a development as a schematic or back of the envelope set of assumptions and constituents into a summarized description and specific pro forma. VI. FINAL PRESENTATION Conceptual argument/position text and diagrams Site plan(s), including context Site sections, including context Program narrative 3D diagram Open space, use group and circulation diagrams Financial proposal summary paragraph Zoning regulation considerations and variances Building plans for each type and use group Building sections for each type and use group DELIVERABLE REQUIREMENTS: Two 30x40 printed boards Supporting booklet in 8.5x11 or 11x17 format Site model and massing/study models VII. ASSIGNMENTS DUE All assignments must be uploaded to CourseWorks, in the folder for that particular student's studio, created by the studio TA. Please follow GSAPP Abstract naming protocol: Year_Critic Name_Student Name_File Name for example 2012_SBald_DJones_SiteSection.jpg.