Integrated Diversity

BUILT-UP AREA: 3,200,000 SFT
LOCATION: World Trade Center, New York City, USA
YEAR: 2022

Availability of affordable housing is the fundamental right of every citizen. One of the UN Sustainable Development Goals is to ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services by the year 2030.

Where skyscrapers were once designed to increase built-up area in the city due to scarcity of space, today, in cities like New York, London, Hong Kong and Dubai, skyscrapers have largely become vanity projects to aesthetically enhance the skyline of the city and give the appearance of a high-tech metropolis, while at the same time, not a few kilometers away, public housing projects turn into shanty towns and ghettos without access to bare necessities or safety, and vast tracts of land remain vacant in the suburbs.

The proposal to convert 5WTC into a 100% affordable housing building is a commendable step in the right direction, integrating accessible, universal housing and facilities to residents of all backgrounds right in the heart of the city.

Our proposal is called Integrated Diversity, encompassing not only accessibility for citizens of diverse backgrounds, but also creating provisions for varying sizes of apartments that can cater to a wide range of individuals, groups and families. The main aim was to create a range of possibilities, as well as ensure direct sunlight and natural ventilation for all spaces, something that is often missing in apartments in Western cities. Instead of trying to fit in as many units as possible, which ultimately leads to jampacked flats with no shared open spaces, we aim for an optimum number of living units interspersed with breathing spaces in the form of wide corridors and green spaces that can be shared between residents. Being at a high altitude, these spaces can begin to make up for the lost connection to the ground and garner a sense of community, shared ownership and pride within the building.

The resultant design has around 1,000 units of varying sizes and configurations, ranging from 800 sq feet to 1,800 sq feet. The total number of floors in the building is eighty, with two floors dedicated to services, maintenance and safety. Wide corridors and shared social spaces as well as private green spaces encourage a sense of community. Materials proposed are low-tech, with minimal application of glass. The floor plates shift in area after every four storeys, providing optimal ventilation and maximum floor coverage in response to the skewed plot boundary.