A Circulatory Habitat Cluster for Manhattan

Peristalsis: The rippling motion of muscles in tubular organs characterized by the
alternate contraction and relaxation of the muscles that propel the contents onward.

The core of the skyscraper, its structural and circulatory conventions, as a central obstacle to tall building design
is well known.  Should the elevator, of all things, persist as the non-negotiable limit of our vertical habitats?
The limit is vexing, for not only does it determine compositional forms but, more significantly, the arrangement of
social practices with regards to both our labor and leisure.  Elevators stifle more than facilitate our movement by
virtue of their rigid planes and fleeting occupations.  That is to say, the vast space of which the elevator shaft
occupies is, temporally speaking, useless.  But suppose we involved ourselves with a different interpretation of
that inactive, rigid, and sequestered domain which much of this central shaft represents.  It would demand a vital
shift, or at least a conceptual reworking, towards an active utilization of such space.  This possibility is precisely
what our design explores and challenges.

By employing a dynamic spatial application against the traditional organization of core and space, we dissolved
the dichotomy between circulation and habitable environments. We have eliminated typological stacking where
experiences are vapidly suggested to be diversified by simply designating floors to particular social practices.
Instead, we propose a spatial layout that establishes heterogeneous movements, and not just assorted
practices, as the criteria for a dynamic assemblage.  The following set of statements will explain how this is
Ideation: Circulation = Space
An inhabitable pocket is contained within a flexible element.  It is a module that flows in a vertical communicative
field with the surrounding members. Their positioning is determined and managed by a responsive signaling

Technology: Fluidic Muscle Tectonics
This is a soft, pliable, sealed, and non-mechanical innovation which encapsulates the volumetric structure.   
Textile reinforced hoses execute a peristaltic action.  Thus, the modules are enabled to create an articulated
motion that is symbiotically connected to an urban armature.

Social construct: Urban Cluster / Mixing Use
Here, at West Side rail yards, we imagine a metropolitan assemblage that registers mobility and freedom.  As a
vibrant set of recombinant programs it operates in section and plan simultaneously.  On the ground plane a
multistory plinth fits the cluster into the metabolism of the cityscape.  The assemblage acts as an elevated
setting for cultural and multimodal uses, e.g. auditoriums, esplanades, piers, and parking.  

Environment: Sky-Surface as Community Realm
The sky-surface is the eventual destination for the transportable unit occupants to celebrate with pleasured
retreats and striking vistas overlooking the Hudson.  At this juncture the collective body of the cluster is granted
the capability to gather democratically.  

Perspective: Urban Window
The peristaltic-fabric is designed as a sequential organization around an ‘urban window’ condition; a
visual gateway to both city and waterfront allowing a selection of interchanging viewing angles and heights. This
temporal effect re-reads the city constantly, promoting a quality of transparency in the context of urban mass. A
micro cosmos is born which inter-relates habitation to light, air, space, and views across scales of individual
units, clusters and cities.  

If there is one feature which characterizes the Modernist project in the twentieth century and represents its
aspirations it is the skyscraper. This project has attempted to reconsider and critically revisit this well-celebrated
typology in the context of the ever-growing city of the twenty first century.  It aims to develop the notion of vertical
mobility as an approach to the changing needs of both the individual and the collective.
As the sole signifier of vertical rigidity, both programmatic and performative, elevator and core have been
dematerialized through the invention of Peristaltic City.

Design Team:
Mitchell Joachim
Neri Oxman

Special Thanks:
Nathan Leverence and Axel Kilian.
Habitat Cluster and Urban
Armature at  West Side Rail
Transportable Units with Textile Reinforced
Fluidic Muscles to Execute Peristaltic Action.
Multistory Plinth Fits Cluster Into Cityscape Metabolism at West Side Rail Yards.
Moving Muscle Spaces.
Circulatory Habitat Cluster for NY
eVolo Architecture competition WINNERS:
Site Plan of Pods and Solar Chart.
Section of Four Story Pod Spaces.
Test Model of Muscle Skin.