Street view render of architecture building complex

Published: 2023

/ Student Work

Living in EARTH

The project, located in a low residential area at the corner of Ash Street and 14th street in Detroit, is planned to develop a commercial street and eco corridors near the site in the future. Led by the site conditions, we explore the spatial relationship between mothership and satellite, work and life by playing with the combination of pattern language to create both privacy and connectivity in a community. By digging the rammed earth locally as our core material, we designed a sunken garden for the Ash street green corridor. As well as wall thickness change in section, the intimacy level is also shown through the change of height level in the sunken garden, corner garden, and courtyard garden. In addition, the change of material and textures throughout the project also contributes to creating an intimate rhythm. We hope this design logic based on patterns of networks could help us focus on creating a more humane and empathetic residential design. Flexible arrangements of different functions in units, subtle shifts from thick wall to thin wall in section could bring more hierarchy of public and privacy. Local material makes people feel rooted in the ground. Hope in a post-COVID era, unit-owned or shared gardens would play an important role in sense of home and community arrival.


Xuetong Zhai and Ke Xu


Mick Kennedy