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Novel Urban Ecologies, 2016




Laura Briggs

Enrique Martinez




Prefabrication / Modular / Sustainability / Typologies / Affordability / Water / Filter / Diversity /


In Providence, there is a significant need for affordable housing and yet there exists vacant lots spread across the entire city. The lack of alternative urban typologies that address the challenges of sustainable urban growth is a large problem. I was able to propose new ways of urban living to accommodate families in the 21st century and explore new ways to challenge energy efficiency and material in such a small scale.

There are a few trends currently taking place in Providence today. First, there is a trend regarding rent prices. As rent keeps going up, more and more families are choosing to live in multi-family homes with apartments that have 2-3 bedrooms. Second, is that the new younger crowd are not getting marry and moving to bigger homes.


In order for the modular home to be able to fit into the urban fabric, it had to be able to size up and down accordingly. On my site, which was located in Olneyville, the buildings consisted of 3 story multi-family homes. The buildings mostly obtained similar characteristics and styles, everything from pitched roofs to Victorian era ornamentation. The modular home was created from two main concepts. First, the pitched roof would gather, filter and store the rainwater and second, the home would become a shelter that would house a diversity of water, plants, light, and people.


Privacy is important when it comes to low-income neighborhoods. Rather than standing out, these homes would have a very subtle style on the street facing facades and the inner courtyards spaces are filled with life and color to express the diversity of cultures and backgrounds of the people that live there. The only access to the courtyard was inspired by the alleys in between the houses from the neighborhood.

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