Journey of an Architect is a blog started by Tim Ung to share his architecture and design ideas through speculative projects. His posts focus on his design process, thoughts, struggles, and successes throughout his journey.

Schematic Design for NYC Net Zero Public Housing Project

Schematic Design for NYC Net Zero Public Housing Project

After coming up with concept sketches for the NYC Net Zero Public Housing Project, I started a new Revit model, setup a 10’ x 10’ grid, and began modeling the exterior concrete walls and the interior partitions. Once I translated my hand sketch into the Revit model, I focused on designing the four different apartments that would be mirrored and copied to the floors above.

Here’s what I accomplished over the past week and some of the issues that I’ll be working through in the upcoming week.

Schematic Design of the NYC Net Zero Public Housing Project

While coming up with the hand sketches in the conceptual design phase of this project, I thought through several ideas that would help me develop the correct wall types, proportions for creating a comfortable sized unit, and potential layouts for the different rooms in each apartment. After sketching a detail of the exterior wall, the concrete shear walls, and the concrete floors with radiant heating, I developed each type in Revit. Then, I set the location of the project, created all 10 floors, and placed the 10’ x 10’ grid into the floor plans. This is where the fun part begins!

With everything ready to go, I drew the concrete exterior walls using the wall type that I developed and created all of the interior partitions that would separate the apartments. All of these walls were based on the hand sketch that I developed during the conceptual design phase. Then, I focused on laying out the one bedroom corner unit of the 1st floor, which was difficult. When I came up with the programmatic hand sketch, all of the lines had no dimensions. So once it was translated into Revit, the thickness of the walls made some of the spaces very small.

However, I worked through the design of the 1 bedroom unit and came up with a solution that contains a dining area that’s able to seat six people, a kitchen with an island that’s able to seat three people, a full bathroom, washer and dryer closet, minimum sized bedroom, and an open balcony with a sunroom. The only area that I’m unsatisfied with is the living room, which is located adjacent to the bathroom.

Moving onto the second unit type on the odd numbered floors, I started by mimicking a majority of the design of the one bedroom unit. These two bedroom apartments have a larger kitchen that can fit four people at the island, a larger and more comfortable living room, but has the same bathroom, washer dryer, and bedrooms as the one bedroom unit.


One bedroom apartments on odd numbered floors

Two bedroom apartments on odd numbered floors


On the second floor of the building, the corner apartments will be two bedroom units that combine the design of both the one bedroom and two bedroom units from the odd numbered floors. The adjacent one bedroom units on the even numbered floors are essentially the same as the one bedroom units on the odd numbered floors.


One bedroom apartments on even numbered floors

Two bedroom apartments on even numbered floors


While coming up with the interior layout of each unit, I decided to make the balconies of every unit smaller because they were larger than most of the other spaces. I also decided to increase the size of the apartments on the odd numbered floors by eliminating the alcove entrance that was in my original hand sketch.

Odd numbered floor plans

Even numbered floor plans

Next Steps

My first step for developing this project further is to vertically align as many of the concrete shear walls that separate each unit as possible. In most cases, the shear walls should already be aligned between all of the floors. However, while I was designing the different units, I decided to shift a wall between the one and two bedroom entrances on the odd numbered floors to capture more floor space for the units.

Secondly, I’ll develop the ground floor of the building, which will be a combination of stores and public programs for tenants of the building. So far, my thought is to have a dedicated grand entrance for the tenants along the street front. Adjacent to the entrance will be a public shop(s) and at the north side (back) of the building, there will be spaces for organizations that assist the low income tenants improve their lives through education, job opportunities, and networking opportunities with one another.

Lastly, I’ll come up with a reflected ceiling plan that includes lighting layouts for every floor. This should be simple because each unit was created as a group in the Revit model, which means that I could develop the ceiling design in one apartment and it’ll replicate itself in all other similar apartments. With lots to do and a deadline of three weeks, I’ll be working as hard as I can to get the Revit model complete by next week!

Design Update for NYC Net Zero Public Housing Project

Design Update for NYC Net Zero Public Housing Project

Preliminary Design for 2017 Project 1

Preliminary Design for 2017 Project 1