Rendering of the "Water Tank House" design, with a circular plan, radially-arranged roof beams, an a view of oak trees through the windows.

Water Tank House

The “Water Tank House” is a conceptual test-fit of a two-bedroom, two-bathroom house inside of a re-purposed redwood water tank. An oak forest is envisioned as a possible building site. The 25-foot-diameter tank structure features a central post supporting the wood roof structure, with vertical redwood planking forming the 24-foot-tall walls. The interior volume is humanized with the addition of a second floor, bringing the living spaces closer to the expansive wooden roof.

Level 1 floor plan of the water tank house

The lower level is envisioned to contain two bedrooms and two bathrooms arranged around a central spiral staircase. The main entry leads directly to the staircase, as visitors are greeted with sunlight from the central skylight above. This corridor datum divides the two bedroom wings and a radial spur that provides access to the public bathroom.

The upper level is a single open living space organized around the central post, spiral staircase, and skylight. Four spaces surround the central circulation for living, dining, kitchen, and open studio work. Windows are cut into 50% of the wall surface in the living and dining areas, while the original redwood boards remain intact at the kitchen and studio spaces.

“U-Tower” House

The “U-Tower” House is a small 700 square foot, 2-bed/2-bath home designed to fit to a roughly 50′ x 70′ flat lot with minimal side setbacks. In the international style, the exact characteristics of a potential building lot are not considered in the conceptual design. The small size is addressed with a unique layout placing each bedroom and bath in an opposite wing, centered around a common kitchen and dining space. The primary living space is located in a small tower element raised above the center of the home and accessed by ladder. The exterior massing reflects the organization of interior spaces in the roof pitches and window openings. A small circle drive defines the front yard, and in the back the home’s massing creates a courtyard centered around a large tree. Lush plantings throughout the lot create a vibrant experience with year-round interest, enhancing the exterior views from the intimate interior.

U-Tower House Conceptual Plan Set

Six Concrete Canoes

Six concrete canoes float
on the water
Six concrete canoes rest
out on the grass
Four raced, were paddled boldly
four concrete canoes raced
Battled fiercely, but never victorious.

Every last pound mixed and placed by hand
built by hand
Countless hours endless energy;
night after night, worked through the night
Covered in concrete, but building six canoes.

Six concrete canoes float
in the water
Six concrete canoes rest
out on the grass
Two broken, one beautiful and bright, and colorful;
two demolished were unwanted.
Two more concrete canoes remain;
but each new year, a new canoe
So these soon will be gone too;
for now six concrete canoes.

Sheet music excerpt for the choral version of "Six Concrete Canoes" accompanied by piano, oboe, clarinet, and cello.

Learn more at:

Cello duet at:

Timber in the City

This proposed “Timber in the City” complex showcases the structural and sculptural potential of wood with a series of dynamic timber structures that reflect the ever-evolving cultural fabric of the Lower East Side in New York City. The weaving form of Williamsburg Apartments, pictured here, references the intersection of diverse cultural paths in this community, where a rich common regional heritage has developed. With timber as they key structural and finish material, the heterogeneity of natural wood expresses the diversity and humanity of the local community, creating an architectural landmark that contrasts with the historic concrete and masonry vernacular of the neighborhood.

The residential structure features horizontal cross-laminated-timber (CLT) floorplates; the horizontal use of structural timber is reflected in the façade with fully-continuous strip windows around the building, creating a horizontally-striped solid/void reading. The solid portions of the façade are comprised of vertical CLT cantilevered off of the horizontal floor plates, finished with horizontal cedar siding. CLT is uniquely suited for this two-way-slab application because the laminations in both directions are leveraged structurally. Every two floors, transfer slabs with 10-ply CLT and 4” of reinforced concrete transfer loads between the column grids as the building massing alternates.

Leveraging the sustainable and humanistic benefits of timber to create a stunning new space for the community, Cedar Commons restores the heritage of community synergy in the Lower East Side while showcasing innovative new ways to build with wood.