architecture + urbanism




Big Dig House in CNN Money

big dig house cnn money

Six years after its completion, the Big Dig House is still receiving much attention. Instead of the initial 'wow factor' of the house however, the project is being looked at as a new way of thinking: It is an example of how we can salvage material that typically goes into our waste stream. As 'down-cycling' wastes embodied energy and requires new energy to reform material, 'pre-cycling' or planning construction with the second use of a material in mind can shift the building industry into more creative and sustainable modes of design and construction.

 — A special thanks to CNN Money's Anastasia Anashkina for covering the story >>
 — Learn more about the Big Dig House >>


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Island of Water

Incheon, Korea | 2010
[ AIA/BSA Unbuilt Architecture Honor Award ]

Incheon’s lost maritime history is recovered by recreating an inland sea around the historical Ahamdo island: allowing it to be an island once again. This sea will incorporate artificial reefs to shelter a delicate wetland ecosystem with an urban wilderness park running through it. Recreation areas, visitor’s center, and a floating pontoon pedestrian bridge reminiscent of the historical path to Ahamdo are integrated in ways that allow damaged ecosystem to regenerate while simultaneously drawing visitors to witness the gradual change. The landscapes are specifically designed to stabilize and regenerate the marsh while filtering polluting runoff from the adjacent urbanized areas.  Thousands of abandoned boating vessels are re-used to create artificial reefs that control tidal flow allowing the re-creation of the tidal marsh to support local plants and wildlife.  The new pedestrian bridge also doubles as an oyster habitat to filter and replenish the pollutants in the water.


Historic views of Ahamdo Island, circa 1930 (left) – One of Incheon’s most significant cultural locations, it was tenuously connected to the land by a footbridge exposed only during low tide. Current conditions of Ahamdo Island show it closed in by infrastructure and infill (right).



The new varied topography allows for a diversity of plant and wildlife habitats.

Amidst the habitats, a visitor’s center lightly touches the ground but allows for extended views.


The floating pontoon bridge made of recycled buoys raises and lowers with the tide without touching the ground. Oyster farms that filter the water are suspended from the understructure.

The new pontoon bridge becomes a connective infrastructure between city and waterfront and becomes central viewing area for yearly festivals.



Jinhee Park  AIA + John Hong  AIA, LEED AP (principals in charge), Jiseok Park, Frederick Peter Ortner, Juho Lee



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emerald km boston city hall acc mass art white stadium


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Clover HSQ featured in Dwell Magazine

clover hsq

Part of an larger network that rethinks how fresh food is produced, distributed, and consumed, Clover's first restaurant in Harvard's Square's iconic Holyoke Center is featured in the Dec/Jan issue of Dwell Magazine. Thanks to Aaron Britt who covered the story. To find out more about Clover:

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Clover Restaurant is completed

The first of the Clover Restaurants is open at Harvard Square at 7 Holyoke.  Not only was it a privilege collaborating with Clover on a new concept for fast food, it was also a privilege working in the Holyoke Center, the Harvard owned building designed by Josep Lluís Sert.  Our approach was to combine the minimum-footprint-aesthetic of the Clover brand with the abstract spatial concepts of Sert's space:  Like a minimalist art installation, fluorescent 'cloud canopies' are suspended below the original waffle ceiling.  A void cut into the existing mezzanine brings natural light from a skylight above while a wire trellis will allow climbing ivy to eventually reach this light source.  The idea of transparency is both literal and figural: The boundary between 'kitchen' and 'customer' is dissolved to reveal the workings of the food-making while the use of glass railings also allows visual communication between spaces while reflecting and multiplying the light.

Clover is part of a larger concept for tasty, vegetarian fast food. Their (and our) mission is to revolutionize the way food is produced, distributed, and ultimately consumed – because if we can do so, it will have an enormously positive impact on the environment.  This is not just 'greenwash,' in fact if you look at modern food systems you will notice enormous dysfunction on many interrelated levels.  Because of the sheer scale of our current state of affairs, a slight shift will make revolutionary change.  The clover food trucks which rolled out earlier last year are part of this larger network.  >> Link to more info >>

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Clover Food Trucks are on the roll

In the last year, we’ve been working with Clover on their food trucks and their new restaurant in Harvard Square.  Boston area residents may have already visited one of the two Clover Food Lab Trucks that are on the roll, one in Kendall Square and the other in Dewey Square near South Station.  For those of you that don’t know Clover, they are an amazing innovation in (dare we say it) ‘fast food.’  But don’t let the connotations fool you:  First of all, the owner, Ayr, is very modest about the little revolution he is starting.  In working through the design with him, we decided early on that there will be nothing in the architecture or marketing materials that screams that Clover is vegeterian, locally sourced, and organic whenever it can be.  What matters here is not making these distinctions (which are too quickly becoming marketing buzzwords), but instead to simply serve up delicious, healthy (and fast) food. 

Starting by recycling decommissioned cargo trucks, the Clover Trucks have been designed to be efficient, low-energy, passively cooled, and abstractly minimal – like a white-board on wheels ready to be written on.  Despite their simple appearance, they are a small small feat of engineering that spans very compact kitchen and storage design to the integration of an i-phone driven POS system spearheaded by Ayr with his affinity for cutting-edge and user-friendly technology. As we refine the design for future trucks, they will be converted to bio-diesel and include solar hot water and photovoltaic panels.  And as we zoom out and think about the larger picture, we hope to not only contribute to the design of the spaces, but also to the rethinking of the larger environmental predicament of our food systems:  how it is distributed, prepared, and consumed.

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Panama City, Panama | 2008 

As Panama City expands at an unprecedented rate, environmental sustainability is becoming central to future developments. However, because of the high amount of rainfall and humidity, the effect of natural ventilation strategies for office and residential towers is limited. Instead we looked at ways to both generate electricity and harvest rainwater through a series of architectural ‘waterfalls’: Rainwater falling on the tower roofs is brought down to the lower roof of the tower base where gentle sloping surfaces generated from parking and pedestrian circulation is used to create a series of ‘waterfalls’ that turn a series electricity generating turbines. The water is then filtered and stored to water the sloping green roofs during dry, hot months.

  Through the variation of the skin many differentiations are created in unit types and sizes without changing the essential layout of the building infrastructure.  Views orientations are multiplied and where the skin is flat, 2-story duplex units are formed.


Aerial view of Type 2 towers: Several hundred meters east of the Type 1 towers, the base of these mixed-use buildings is similar to the Type 1 tower so that they are understood as part of the same green infrastructural network.  The mixed commercial and residential program is split by a community center and indoor pool that spans both towers.



John Hong AIA/LEED, Jinhee Park AIA  (principals in charge), Catarina Marques



asian cultural complex 8 towers white stadium soft lofts  
acc 8 towers white stadium soft lofts  



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White Stadium

Seoul, Korea | 2008
[finalist, invited competition]

white stadium sdo

Water, digital technology, and sustainability are merged in this new reinterpretation of the iconic but now underutilized Seoul Olympic Stadium.  A temporary structure to house the international Seoul Design Olympiad (SDO) events, an inflatable arch is held away from the structure of the historic stadium.  Through a simple process of condensing water on the surface of this inflatable structure through solar evaporation, rain runoff is purified and ‘misted’ to create a white volume that catches digital light and defines new energized events.  The mist also nourishes a nursery of culturally significant trees within the center of the stadium.  At the end of the event, these trees are placed throughout the city of Seoul according to the city’s masterplan, extending the positive memory of the white stadium.


sdo baekja

Inspired by the simple and elegant pottery of the Baek-Ja era, the stadium becomes a new urban figure.  By using an inflatable structure combined with a simple process of condensing water in sunlight within the inflatable,  the mist at times hides the stadium and then allows it to reappear giving the existing building a new sense of life.

white stadium section
As the stadium fronts the Hangang River, contaminated water from the river is purified through the condensation process and used to water a grove of trees.

The simple process of purifying water through condensation is demonstrated.

white stadium trees

The nursery of trees is then relocated to different parts of Seoul according to the city's masterplan.  The alliance of the two major municipal projects creates an overall savings for the city.

white stadium detail

The  purified water is used for irrigation as well as well as for creating atmospheric mists for events.

white stadium  waterfront

View from the Han River: Changing patterns of white mist illuminated by LED's define the underutilized existing stadium as a new event space.  The purification of the water into mist allows the public to understand the importance of the river.



Jinhee Park  AIA + John Hong  AIA, LEED (principals in charge), Frederick Peter Ortner, Chris Ryan, Leehong Kim, Jaeyoon Kim, Chang Zhang

structural engineer
Paul Kassabian, SGH


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acc czech library boston harbor cade museum  

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Soft Lofts

Brooklyn, NY | 2007

Rather than consider ‘Urban’ and ‘Soft’ as contradictory concepts, this project rethinks the terms as counterparts to one another. Instead of a series of windows that polarize notions of inside and outside, two transformable layers are utilized: The outer skin becomes a system of operable clear windows while the inner skin utilizes sliding panels with printed ‘windows’ that transition between clear and opaque. The space that is captured between these layers is a kind of ‘soft’ zone – neither outside nor inside, but a gradation between the two. From the interior, the additional perceptual depth allows users to innovate previous conceptions of the domestic.

soft lofts




  soft lofts typology model

Typological Transformations:  1.  The old-law 'railroad' tenement had little access to light and air. 2.  The new-law 'dumbell' tenement enforced small unnocupiable lightwells. 3.  Along with the rear-yard setback, soft lofts proposes a 'soft' perimeter of occupiable light and air spaces.  existing zoning
Existing Zoning: Low 1 or 2 story warehouses are the defining characteristic that have attracted new residents(left).  The new zoning implies complete erasure with 5 or 6 story new construction.

softlofts - proposed zoning
Suggested Zoning: By not lowering the proposed FAR, new construction could still be spliced into the existing fabric (left).   The sidewall could become a new layer  of history among the existing warehouse streetfronts.

soft party wall

The sidewall (or party wall) can become a new surface for bringing in light as well as an elevation that participates tangentially with the surrounding urban scene.  As only 15% of this wall can be glazed per code, the wall can be more effective as an overall distributed pattern rather than as a few isolated openings.


softlofts section softlofts panels

A skip-stop elevator allows duplex units.  The double-height soft zone between the interior and exterior is defined by sliding panels that can be configured by the user to  naturally vary the environmental performance and transparency of the space.



Jinhee Park AIA, John Hong AIA/LEED (principals in charge), Frederick Peter Ortner, Erik Carlson, Anne Levallois, Sadmir Ovcina, Youngju Baik, Chris Minor, Hyeyoung Kim


 hbny mass college of art czech library    
hbny  mass art czech library    


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Big Dig Building

Cambridge, MA | 2005
[ Metropolis Next Generation Prize, Holcim Sustainable Construction Award ]

big dig building

Most are familiar with Boston's ongoing "Big Dig." Few, however, give thought to the massive amount of waste that accompanies construction on this scale, namely the dismantling of the existing and temporary roadways. The Big Dig Building proposes to relocate and recycle these infrastructural materials as building components, adapting them to uses ranging from structural members to cladding. Furthermore, as these reused materials can withstand much higher loads than conventional building elements, the social ramifications of "heavy" in relation to "dwelling" can produce new and innovative results.

highway to housing

From Highway to Housing:  What happens to the millions of tons of discarded materials from obsolete infrastructures like Boston's Big Dig?  Destroying it costs millions to tax payers as well as wastes the embodied energy already stored in the materials.   Dismantled and relocated, concrete and  steel sections can become structural building modules adaptable to a variety of sites and programs.

infrastructure to architecture

load comparison

Load Comparisons: Standard framing (left) can withstand 40 psf – only standard residential objects and programs can be accomodated. The existing highway overpass (middle) is designed for HS20-44 military loading and can withstand 250 psf. The Big Dig Building using salvaged materials could withstand 200psf – How might a structure that can sustain 4x the load of standard residential construction change the way we dwell?

big dig building from street

Highway panels are shifted to create an elevation that reads as a vertical landscape.

big dig typologies

Like a prefabricated system, differing typologies from low to high densities can be created from the same salvaged infrastructural materials.  In this light, should not all infrastructural materials be more strategically designed with the second use already in mind? This 'pre-cycling' of structure would save them from become obsolete (and thus regarded as trash) and would conserve their massive amount of embodied energy for the lifespan of the material.

big dig building section
Cross section:  The assembly of infrastructural materials provides advantages such as long span undergroung parking, the integration of water filled trombe walls, and the ability to incorporate full scale landscapes on roofs and balconies.


big dig building interior

Because of the ability for the materials to carry heavy loads as well as span long distances, new programmatic freedoms can evolve.  Family playgrounds can be introduced into upper level units to provide immediate access to the outdoors (left), libraries and other heavy loads can be sustained within each unit (middle), and long spans making continuities between inside and outside can be achieved (right).


John Hong AIA/LEED,  Jinhee Park AIA (principals in charge), Erik Carlson, Gentaro Miyano

structural design
Paul Pedini, Jay Cashman, Inc.



big dig house soft lofts      
big dig house soft lofts  


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Boston Harbor Pavilion

Boston, MA | 2005
[honorable mention, international competition]

boston harbor front

It is the reciprocal edge between water and land that makes an island an extraordinary natural resource and public amenity. As an urban gateway to the Boston Harbor Islands, the structural roof-form or this design becomes a literal/metaphorical reference to this junction of water and land. Where the 'actual' site above the Central Artery prohibits excavation, the curvilinear roof-form is reflected onto a polished terrazzo map of the harbor islands implying the shoreline topography. This roof also collects runoff for reuse in the building and landscape while its downspouts become part of a demonstration water/land garden.


folded paper gets stronger

Structural concept:  like a flat sheet, a flat slab of concrete will deflect and fail (left).  Folding this sheet greatly increases its strength.


boston harbor plan

The section of the building transforms from folded to flat – open public space containing ticketing and exhibition areas to private interior space containing restrooms and wash areas.
boston harbor model


boston harbor diagram   bostonharbor-map
water reclaiming as social event   boston harbor display

A singular shape performs in multiple ways.

boston harbor front

pavilion at night

In the evening, the pavilion becomes part of the linear eventscape illuminating the new greenway.



Jinhee Park AIA (principal in charge), John Hong AIA/LEED (collaborating principal), Sadmir Ovcina, Frederick Peter Ortner, Erik Carlson, Hyeyoung Kim

structural engineer
Jaeseoung Lee, Weidlinger Associates Inc.


mass college of art boston city hall bac-sasaki asian cultural complex white stadium
mass art boston city hall bac sasaki acc white stadium




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Coulter House

Medfield, MA | 2008

This addition above an existing structure expands the experience of the house without physically making it bigger.  The ‘interior-ness’ of the existing stone ground level is juxtaposed against the ‘exterior-ness’ of the new second level:  The light-weight and light-filled spaces of the new second floor are separated into 3 separate pavilions.  This fragmentation allows framed views to the surrounding landscape and new captured roof-gardens that both connect and separate the rooms.  Through energy efficient passive techniques including stack ventilation and the strategic use of overhangs, the need for mechanical summer cooling is eliminated.  In the winter the low-winter sun is harnessed to heat the thermally massive floor.


A new second story (photo above) replaced the original dilapidated one (photo below).  A new entry porch was added to unify the new and original architectures.


coulter diagram

Instead of increasing the size of the house, the new upper level is conceived of as 3 pavilions (right).  The new spatial seams between the volumes  expand the experience of the spaces creating a dynamic spatial contrast with the inward looking existing ground floor spaces (left).

coulter seams

coulter bamboo garden

The space between the pavilions becomes a captured bamboo courtyard.


3 pavilions

3 pavilions: The concept diagram shows how dividing the program into 3 pavilions allows the house to stay small while extending the sense of space from inside to outside.

coulter passive solar

Passive solar techniques: A roof overhang blocks high summer sun while allowing low winter sun keeping the thermally massive floor cool in the summer and hot in the winter.

coulter living before-after

A strategic cut in the ceiling connects the existing ground floor with the new 2nd floor (left).  Natural light and ventilation is now brought into a space that was originally dark and required artificial lighting even during the day (right).

coulter double height

The double height space stack ventilates the house bringing cool air from below and releasing hot air through upper level clerestory windows.  The passive cooling techinique eliminates the need for air conditioning.



Jinhee Park AIA (principal in charge), John Hong AIA/LEED (collaborating principal), Anne Levallois, Erik Carlson, Jiseok Park, Ann Ha

structural engineer
Tripi Engineering Services, LLC

Oteri Construction

Osprey Design/Build


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hbny 8 towers 1948 house    



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Big Dig House

Lexington, MA | 2006
[AIA/BSA Housing Design Award, Metropolis Magazine Feature, Boston Globe Arts Feature, CNN Money Feature]

As a prototype building that demonstrates how infrastructural refuse can be salvaged and reused, the structural system for this house is comprised of steel and concrete discarded from Boston’s Big Dig utilizing over 600,000 lbs of salvaged materials from elevated portions of the dismantled I-93 highway. Planning the reassembly of the materials in as if it were a pre-fab system, subtle spatial arrangements are created. These materials however are capable of carrying much higher loads than standard structure, easily allowing the integration of large scale roof gardens. Most importantly, the project demonstrates an untapped potential for the public realm: with strategic front-end planning, much needed community programs including schools, libraries, and housing could be constructed whenever infrastructure is deconstructed, saving valuable resources, embodied energy, and taxpayer dollars.

bigdighouse_inverset-load   bigdighouse_materials

Within 2 days, the house is framed: reusing steel structure and roadway panels from the big dig has sped up this phase of construction from 2 weeks to 12 hours.


To minimize fabrication time and expense, the structural pieces were reused as-is.

bigdighouse_sequence4-small   bigdighouse_section

construction sequence (left) and section through living and roof garden (right).


Salvaged structural materials are left raw (left).  The roof garden connects to the living room and utilizes harvested rainwater (right).


Window walls in conjunction with double height spaces bring natural light deep in the space while exterior overhangs shade summer sun.




John Hong AIA /LEED, Jinhee Park AIA (principals in charge), Erik Carlson, Sadmir Ovcina, Chris Minor

structural design & construction
Paul Pedini, Jay Cashman, Inc.

structural engineer
Weidlinger Associates, Inc.

water management design
Cristina Perez-Pedini



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big dig building mass art valentine    


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