The Adaptive Grid

Andrew Gargus , Mark Lueke
Manhattan undergoes a constant cycle of excavation, construction, and infill. This project explores the potential of overlaying a new topographic system under the existing street grid. With the introduction of this complex terrain, more advanced modes of transportation are made possible with the advent of smarter mobility systems.
Andrew Gargus Mark Lueke 03An excavated street below grade

As the master plan for Manhattan was beginning to solidify in the late 1800s, the city was not the perfect, uniform grid that exists today but a hybrid topography. The new asphalt streets that were being laid often cut through native hills while in other areas ponds were being filled up to flatten the terrain. At that time, these intersections between the old and the new created interested dynamics that no longer exist today. Inspired by this period of growth, the Adaptive Grid proposes a new kind of circulation system, one that is no longer defined by the boundaries of street, sidewalk and building. The new grid is not informed by structural differences, but rather distinctions in modes of transportation.

Andrew Gargus Mark Lueke 13Cut/fill formal study

Andrew Gargus Mark Lueke 12The pattern of traffic flow determines the new building geometry

Andrew Gargus Mark Lueke 08Current/proposed street and building forms

Andrew Gargus Mark Lueke 07Rendering of a proposed NYC block, shaped by new streets

Andrew Gargus Mark Lueke 09The master plan extended over Manhattan

By allowing a new fluid flow between transportation networks, the Adaptive Grid also infiltrates buildings. It allows for a new building typology that becomes homogeneous with the street, allowing pedestrians to move seamlessly from exterior to interior and vice versa. The boundaries of a building are no longer as important - instead it is being by the ebbs and flows of both human and vehicular motion.

Andrew Gargus Mark Lueke 04Slope streetscapes will allow pedestrians to move differently

Andrew Gargus Mark Lueke 10The topography functions as an integrated system

Andrew Gargus Mark Lueke 11Andrew Gargus Mark Lueke 05Andrew Gargus Mark Lueke 06Sections showing how building and street integrate through the new, richer topography