Cities For All


Quiet Gravitas Re-Animating Drifters through Void Pedagogy

John Sicat
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A playful approach to the typical live/work unit, Quiet Gravitas, presents a new way of tackling the issue of homelessness within Tokyo, Japan. The proposed architectural ecology explores sustainable materials, cultural rituals, place, and time through a careful study of how materials and users behave in a spatial context. The interior design is further elevated through an extension of objects serving as social experiments in social interaction and human empathy as a means of redefining the homeless typology into a larger context of nomadic drifters. Somber, local, and empathetic, the materiality and architectural gestures of this thesis project reflect the inherent culture of the surrounding context. As well as the quiet, yet dignified nature of the underserved clients. 

Reminiscent of speculative architecture, the proposed project employs a process of integration, connection, and empathy to reanimate the homeless populace in Japan and shift the existing paradigms of this longstanding issue. Homelessness, especially in Japan, is a complex issue which stems from social parameters, cultural behaviours, perceptions, and personal difficulties. There is no one stop fix for this issue. To take a step towards making a difference within this global issue requires a change in various factors in our urban landscape. 

Inspired by the floating communities of the Philippines, this project seeks to spark that change by introducing empathetic structures and objects that reimagines homeless as a thriving nomadic community. The project is broken down into two components: a live/work temporary structure and a collection of experimental objects. The primary live/work unit uses the curious occurrence of Tokyo Void caused by ongoing natural disasters that has created a unique temporary housing market within Japan. As country prone to earthquakes and other natural phenomena, the Tokyo urban fabric has been left littered with various void spaces in varying sizes, and at times interstitial in context. These often-unused spaces serve as the site for an elevated co-housing live/work unit. The unique structure allows for a seamless integration of multiple occupancies above and at ground level and acts as a relief shelter for drifters while introducing them to hydroponic farming as potential career path. The latter component features a series of objects at varying scales, aimed toward reimaging public connotations and denotations of homelessness. Composed of waste and local materials, these objects act as social experiments for combatting stigmas and generating trust and empathy, rather than aversion toward drifters.

architecture, interior design
social housing, homelessness