"Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia is a city transitioning from a nomadic to sedentary lifestyle. The recent uncertainty and reduction of commodity prices has left Mongolia in a negative and vulnerable economic position. Although large infrastructural projects and development plans had been proposed, such top-down planning is simply ineffective as the government itself is near bankruptcy. Developer-driven investments are also stagnant. The position of the studio was to start with the basic unit of habitation itself – the ger. We then navigated across three critical scales between the ger, the cluster, and the district." 

The project proposes an intermediate scale of cooperative development to fill the gap between individual needs and top-down planning efforts. A decentralized gravityfed water system provides running water through microgrids which can later connect to the expanding municipal water system. These micro-grids incentivize residents to subdivide their plots and increase density around nodes of shared resources. A system of pile foundations and standardized shear walls are cast on site and mark the proposed zoning guidelines, providing structure into which residents can selfbuild new homes. Precast concrete components embed the water pipes within the foundations of new construction. As plots subdivide and new residents plug into the microgrid, the nodes of the system can grow to accommodate additional program. These also provide a social core for each cluster, accessed through walkways that connect across plots and between units.

Professors John Lin and Joshua Bolchover, Columbia GSAPP 2017.