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Case Studies

Jersey City Hydroponics

New Jersey Institute of Technology - CIM


Architecture, Engineering, CIM


Pablo Lopez Ampudia, Architecture


Client Program

The design approach to the HEXA building began from experimentation of a hexagon as a predominant geometry and motivator of an architectonic idea. A series of panels were designed that focused in the idea of parametrically adjusting the opening and depth of the panel to respond to the interior program of the building. After this exploration, a type of panel that would deal with the typology of the hydroponics systems was utilized in the building elevation. The hexagon geometry was applied to the waffle structural system that allows for longer spans compered to the typical square waffle system.This implies that the hexagonal waffle not only extrudes downward to created the supportive waffle membrane but also upwards and becomes a series of hydroponics devices that adapt to the typology of the farms through the building. The Hexa building focuses on the transparency of the research in hydroponics and the circulation experience to the visitors. This transparency is not only conceived by the use of glazed glass but also by the manipulation of the rain screen panels which result in a clear manifestation of the interior functions of the building.

Why i chose precast for the project

While renowned for its constructive brawn, technical advantages and economic benefits in infrastructure and industrial building types, precast concrete has had comparatively limited application in design-oriented architectural projects. Indeed the precast concrete industry categorizes its products as either “structural” or “architectural” types, a distinction that also reflects a broader, long-standing segregation of the various players in the A/E/C industry, roles they play, and criteria they use to measure success. This studio’s objective is to focus on, and innovate within, this under developed area of research and practice -- to “recast” precast as a cutting edge technology for architectural design.

Significant Lessons Learned

As contemporary concepts of “high-performance” and integrated design emerge as an alternatives to the “one-size-fits-all” and “silver bullet” solutions of the 20th century functionalism, a closer more productive and performative alliance between construction and design practices is needed. A prime example of this expanded field of performative practices is the renewed relevance of an individual building’s relationship to larger built and natural elements via increasingly sustainable ways of using material, energy and human resources in more dynamic, temporal and longer-term ways. These concepts propose such an alternative approach that treats a building as an interdependent, adaptive system as opposed to an accumulation of separate components, the result of dissimilar processes or creation by independent authors -- in short, that a building be greater than the sum of its constituent parts and that it act that way.





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