Shack Up

: social club for millennial dating and sex culture
Type:       Academic
Details:   Harvard Graduate School of Design, Core II
Date:      Spring 2016
Critic:     Tom de Paor

          What is the contemporary condition of romantic relationships among young people, specifically among the millennial demographic? Compared to previous generations, millennials tend to have a looser, more open-mind with regard to the way in which they DTR – define the relationship. Architecture and its treatment of sexuality is an under-served point of research within the field and has been largely limited to readings of stand-alone domestic spaces (houses, villas, etc.) The little amount of speculation on the subject is arguably out of touch with the contemporary condition of sexuality and the spatial format of millennial urban dwelling as in the city of Boston.

        Intimacy and camaraderie come into dialogue at Shack Up – a space intended to foster and accommodate all types, durations, and intensities of romantic and sexual inter-personal relationships among the millennial demographic. Permanence, establishing the institution of the club, must simultaneously allow for our increasing spontaneity and openness toward fast, chance encounters. A dispersed 9-square grid opens 4 alleyways for circulation. One has the choice of ascending the narrower, more efficient “fast tracks” moving north-south through the site, or the wider, meandering “slow tracks” which weave east-west through more programmatic stations.

     The structure of Shack Up is simple, at once trying to maintain its contextuality, at once a radical overlay on the site with found object. Informed by the party walls and tunneled basements of the Church Street row homes, Shack Up employs a system of masonry piers and slabs. The 72 piers terminate at the same height of 95’ with a 2x2’ profile. The columns step out to varying base widths as a formula of the number of slabs each set of 8 is carrying. Each slab is held by 8 columns on a stepped shelf. Within this simple and rigid framework, the programmatic diversity is allowed to flourish. Local topographies intended to foster programmatic and bodily desires are slotted into the column arrangement, expressing themselves within the confines of a square profile. Structure as city, room as landscape.