The Princeton Envelope Group (PEG) is a design and research unit at the Princeton University School of Architecture. Headed by Alejandro Zaera-Polo and coordinated by Urtzi Grau. The unit is engaged in a three year research program on the Politics of the Building Envelope the conclusions of which will be published in a forthcoming book by Actar Press, Barcelona+New York.

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Program Distribution

The original program of the Magnolia Projects was composed of 1400 residential units in flat vertical buildings: 400 X 1 bdr (360sqf), 400 X 2bdr (480sqf), 200 X 2 bdr (540sqf), 40 X 2 bdr (600sqf), 40 X 3 bdr (720sqf), 200 X triplex 2 bdr (600sqf),80 duplex X 2 bdr (600sqf), 40 X 3 bdr (720sqf).

Precedent Prototypes

The precedent prototypes diagram compares existing models: Super Thin, Tower, Hilberseimer, Karl Marx Complex, Blcok Structure, Barcelona, New Urbanism, and Shotguns via the categories: north/south facade, facade/floor area ratio, private open space, connectivity to street grid, % of private entrances, building depth, street grid, and amount of facade.

Site Border Conditions

By distributing the building mass along the edges of the site we create border conditions that establish a clear definition of built and unbuilt.
The housing mass is distributed along the periphery of the site while the empty area in the core will be enclosed and protected as a semi private natural reserve.
The organization of the housing mass around the site creates a connection between the project and its surroundings, avoid a communal structure within the site and thus avoiding potential segregation.

Program Distribution: Ecological, Contextual, and Programatic Parameters

In order to provide the greatest biodiversity, the wetland size should be between 40-50 acres. The existing topography defines the shape of the reserve.
The shotgun houses are arranged around the wetland. Depending on sun angles and the surrounding context, the housing mass is being differentiated.

Site Program Distribution

By offering a variety of programs additional to housing the projects evolves towards a city neighborhood.

TITLE: Site Wetland

Depending on elevation and topography the wetland become differenciated including: wetland, wet meadow, shallow marsh, deep marsh, aquatic bed, upland buffer, and forested wetland.

Composite Project Map

The project seeks a new relationship between nature, domesticity and city. The site is divided into 8 unique zones:
Zone 01:
Elevation: (-3)-(-1)m
Orientation: W
Facade Permeability: 25%
Block Porosity: 100%
Program: 100% housing
Zone 02:
Elevation: (-1)-(0)m
Orientation: NW
Facade Permeability: 80%
Block Porosity: 62.5%
Program: 20% retail, 80% housing
Zone 03:
Elevation: (0)-(+1)m
Orientation: NE
Facade Permeability: 50%
Block Porosity: 37.5%
Program: 4% retail, 96% housing
Zone 04:
Elevation: (+1)-(+2)m
Orientation: NE
Facade Permeability: 50%
Block Porosity: 75%
Program: 4% retail, 8% education, 88% retail
Zone 05:
Elevation: (+2)-(+3)m
Orientation: SE
Facade Permeability: 65%
Block Porosity: 12.5%
Program: 12% retail, 6% education, 82% housing
Zone 06:
Elevation: (+1)-(+2)m
Orientation: SW
Facade Permeability: 35%
Block Porosity: 37.5%
Program: 6% retail, 94% housing
Zone 07:
Elevation: (0)-(+1)m
Orientation: SW
Facade Permeability: 35%
Block Porosity: 37.5%
Program: 10% retail, 4% education, 80% housing
Zone 08:
Elevation: (-1)-(0)m
Orientation: W
Facade Permeability: 30%
Block Porosity: 62.5%
Program: 20% retail, 80% housing

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