Instructors - Carey Clouse, Caryn Brause

Location - Amherst, Massachussetts

Fall 2013

2014 Boston Society of Architects Student Design Showcase


The urban rooftop is a re-imagining of a wasted space.  Flat rooftops are a phenomena throughout the entire globe.  This project, located in downtown Amherst Massachusetts identified a set of flat rooftops in town center both due to its size and central location to create a vibrant connection between the public and ecological realm focusing on local bird populations. This studio saw the flat roof phenomena as an example of wasted space, a place where ecological productivity is absent.  Cities through history have fought against the influx of the natural world seeing animals as parasites invading the urban space.  However, more solutions are being formulated to reintroduce the ecological world into cities to create a more vibrant and functioning coexistence. This new structure, a replica-table plug in piece to an existing building seeks to create an educational center for the public that will become a destination space in Amherst. The rooftop space will become a green habitat, planted with sustainable grass and plants in trays to form nesting spots for the birds creating an ecological beacon for the city.  This center for urban ecological habitats will be easily accessible, culturally vibrant and productive.

This site, located in a plaza behind the chosen buildings has become a waste space itself, lacking character and vibrancy.  This area is accessed through a tunnel from Main Street, allowing for a strong circulation path.  The plaza also contains an underground parking garage for access to the businesses in the rear.  The design calls for a series of blocks stacked upon each other to form the buildings structure.  The lower blocks form the horizontal bar, containing the educational, caretaker and exhibition spaces.  This bar is intersected by the main vertical bar, forming the circulation and observation tower allowing for views of the rooftop habitat.  The current rooftop of these series of buildings is completely flat, void of any mechanicalobstructions, allowing for unrestricted rooftop habitat.  The roof will not be accessible to the public, who will use the observation tower to experience it.  The caretaker’s residence is built onto the roof, to allow for direct access for maintenance.

Facade Screen CNC Foam Mockup

Rear Plaza (Left), Existing Building Stock Green Roof (Right)