Articulating the Alleyway

Richard Phan
Articulating the Alleyway explores the potential of hyper-density to provide new ways of moving through the city and through buildings. Inspired by the vibrancy of New York City's active street life, the project creates an urban scaled architecture where the street, sidewalks, and alleyways carve into the building itself. These paths allow for a new kind of movement through the city and provide new kinds of spaces that blur conventional notions of the separation between buildings and the street.
Richard Phan 13Concept diagram showing existing and proposed conditions

Rather than understand the motion of New York City solely through the grid and streets, the project looks at the interior street - the alleyway. Currently alleyways are widespread in the city, especially in lower Manhattan, but underutilized. They house the potential to contain new circulation networks around buildings. These paths can expand, physically creating inhabitable spaces that become public spaces for gathering and social events. By doing so, a new form of porosity between building and city becomes possible.

Richard Phan 03Rendering showing alley connections from the exterior

Richard Phan 04Exterior elevation

Richard Phan 05Interior alleyway section

Richard Phan 07Section diagram

By taking the idea of the urban light-well as a means of accessing air and light, the cuts in the alleyways enhance the experience by providing diagonal views through the buildings into each other and the greater city. Floor slabs are reconfigured to maximize these spaces, inverting the relationship between open space and the alleyway. In doing so, cars also no longer have to be limited by set boundaries. In a neighborhood like Tribeca where traffic is often chaotic and heavy due to many access points in and out of the city, these new paths in and out of buildings will offer a form of relief.

Richard Phan 09Vehicular circulation section

Richard Phan 11Sight line section

Richard Phan 10Connection points

Richard Phan 12The cuts are done as to maximize vantage points and accessibility

Richard Phan 08Formal analysis for carving via floor slabs