Forney is a rapidly growing suburban community to the east of Dallas, Texas. Many of its residents live in Forney, but commute to Dallas for work and other social activities. A local developer asked us to devise a plan for a new town center in Forney where people could live and work in the city without having to commute to Dallas to work. The plan for a 1000 acre plot of land within the city was to create various levels of density within each block of the new planned community. The community is made up a various types of pixels that create a block, and those pixels are grouped together to create a neighborhood, and then those groups create the larger community based off of those series of relationships. Think of the pixels that make up an image. Each pixel is responsible for a color and when multiple pixels are group together they create a recognizable portion of the picture. One pixel is considered to be a building type of which is placed beside other pixels. These pixels are then grouped into a larger pixel or block. This maximizes the interaction between various age groups and income levels. This block can then be grouped into an even larger pixel creating a fractal system.
The planned community proceeds to continue from the existing housing subdivisions south of the site and transitions slowly into local and major commercial centers towards the north of the site where the community is serviced by a rail line that would serve as a commuter rail line into Dallas and US Highway 80. This keeps residents working within the city and establishes a grid for the city to grow from. The community consists of a school, hospital, various types of housing, senior center, recreational facility, and a park system.
The following public building precedents are chosen due to the relationship to the goal of increasing interactions between different programs in order to create a diverse, intricate network. As the pixels act as singular pieces that work together to create a rich whole, these buildings blur the boundaries between different programmatic elements by making them interact through sheer adjacency. For Instance, the elementary school and the hospital are punctuated by multiple interior courtyards in order to greater interactions between the indoors and outdoors and to enliven circulation paths by making them more convoluted. Buildings respond to the urban context by creating an array of different courtyards based on the programs from both the building and the city. Therefore, our strategy is not only to incorporate such buildings in order to enhance the pixelated network, but it is also meant to teach the citizens of Forney to gain a greater appreciation of diversity that is lacking in their present community.
Forney is a suburban community outside of Dallas that could serve as the poster boy for the typical suburban lifestyle found in the United States. There are long drives to and from work, distant commercial centers, and oversized plots of land dedicated for one dwelling. Many of the neighborhoods look similar with the only distinguishing feature are slight changes in materials and the name of development. There was little sense of a community among the individual neighborhoods and a lack of diversity in building types. One of the strategies in this design was to create diverse communities, mixing commercial and residential when needed, diversifying the housing typologies within areas, and blurring the lines between public and private. Another strategy was to maintain the fabric that already existed around the site. The placement of housing is strategic in how it blends in to the commercial center, how it approaches vehicular movement, and how they connect with one another.
The design utilizes the pre-existing conditions of the site. The system of pixels is generated from the grid system that created the Downtown Forney Area. Each pixel can be divided into smaller pixels or plots that hold the program, by mixing programs within a pixel and mixing pixels amongst themselves, it creates a dynamic situation in which there are various levels of interaction.
The general scheme of the housing is pixel occupation for housing is highest to the southeast where the pre-existing homes are, mimicking their established pattern within a higher density. Moving northwest, the occupation of high density housing increases, however, single family housing density decreases. Pixels in this area contain mixed-use housing. Pixels are linked together by a park system that connects the existing greenways from the southeast of the site to the northern portons which contain the retail and transportation access to and from the site. Every house and apartment has access to this linear park system.
Housing for this design can be described as a pixel within a pixel. Multiple pixels can create one large community of pixels, unique in their own ways. These diverse communities provide
the opportunities for residents to interact with one another through their shared greenways. Many of the building typologies also promote interaction through shared common spaces. The buildings promote sustainability by incorporating eco-friendly water usage, solar energy harvesting through the use of solar panels, cross ventilation strategies, and orienting the buildings to maximize passive heating and cooling strategies, taking advantage of the Dallas climate to minimize reliance on fossil fuels.