workac: plug out

‘plug out’ by workac
all images courtesy workac

‘plug out’ by american firm workac is a proposal that was commissioned by new york’s
downtown alliance to generate ideas for an underused site in lower manhattan. workac proposed
a series of experimental new housing typologies, stacked in a 45-story building. each housing
type is expressed as an independent section, rotated around the building’s core to take full
advantage of sunlight and views. each section’s rooftop contains a different ecosystem.

the concept of the ‘plug-out’ is that a single building can provide the necessary ecological
infrastructure for a neighborhood, allowing it to ‘plug out’ from the city grid and performing
what we call ‘urban dialysis’ filtering and cleaning water and providing energy which is then fed
back into the surrounding district. the tower’s core, linking the various sections with structure
and vertical transportation, provides this infrastructure. the core is divided into waste and water
systems moving down one side and heat producing systems moving up the other, criss-crossing
at points to generate public programs.

on the water/waste side, rainwater is harvested for toilets, irrigation, hydroponic farming,
laundry and fish farming. grey water is cleaned in the grey water wetland and reused in toilets
and irrigation. black water is cleaned and recycled in a treatment facility to be moved back up
the tower into the energy systems. heat and energy are created via composting, a ‘waste to
power incinerator’, geothermal heating, solar powered facades, traffic wind turbines and a co
generation plant to create public baths, a hot yoga center and warmed earth for urban camping.
at the top of the building is the eco-research school, PS2030 (in honor of the mayor’s planyc 2030).


section view

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