The corner of Congress & Drayton St. (Savannah, GA) which served as a parking lot. The emptiness of this space made the surrounding buildings bigger and heavier which made this side of Johnson Square an uncomfortable place to be. The contrast between the lightness and comfort in the square and the heaviness of the site inspired this project, which has the intention to unify the opposing concepts of heaviness and lightness through its architecture and materiality.

This project consists of a mixed-use complex that offers a recreational space to the public, residential units, and an interior courtyard for the residents.

Design Challenge

The biggest challenge that the project was facing was to successfully find a way to connect the architecture with the overall concept which is the contrast of heaviness and lightness. this approach started to evolve into a very abstract way, the building was going to be a big concrete mass and the challenge was to make it look light in some way, but how? this is when after some thought, the idea of a building envelope came to place. The building was really close to the square which is very green and light versus the surrounding context which is heavy, so a building envelope might address this contrast. The initial idea was to play with the density of the building envelope and see how it responds to the idea of heaviness and lightness which later was inspired by a tree; the branches of a tree became the main structure of the envelope which varies on density depending on where it was facing, and the leaves become a repetition of lines which provide sun shading.

Physical Context

The main design challenge was connected to the connection between the built environment and the natural environment which was addressed through the use of a building envelope. This building envelope expresses the main concept in an architectural manner which had the intent of contrasting heaviness and lightness, which later became the contrast between the building masses and nature respectively.