Daylight in Buildings

Dotting the Lots


Elaine Cui, Yang Yue


Miroslava Brooks


Yale University


United States

Dotting the Lots

Project Description

Dotting the Lots is an effort to reimagine urban living, challenge how we dwell, and search for a quality of life on a minimum footprint. In light of many cities’ growing population and dense urbanization, the spaces for human occupation inevitably become smaller and smaller. Consequently, the standard of living started to deteriorate due to the lack of access to daylight, outdoor space, and nature. Especially during the time of the pandemic, when issues of communal living, privacy, and health start to conflict with each other, this project begs the question from architectural perspective – how to create a new typology to alleviate the tensions in minimal dwelling. As one of the most prevalent urban residential types in America, particularly in highly densified cities such as New York, row houses pose the questions of accessibility of daylight and outdoor space due to the long and deep footprint and repression from two adjacent buildings. Dotting the lots aims to unlock the hidden potential of healthy and sustainable living in small lots by offering a refreshing typology of vertical minimal dwelling. By reconsidering one unit as one tower, the cylindric volume consists of programs or rooms that stack vertically to bring light and air into each space. On plan, resulted by the offset between two semicircles that split in the middle, staircase, balconies, and a void fit effortlessly along the periphery to open up the middle space for inhabitants. With help of solar orientation of the rooftop, the loft-like design allows light to travel throughout each room of the tower to give a larger feel than its actual livable area. Dotting the lots as a module is not only flexible to fit in various narrow lot sizes, but also enable a sense of community while maintaining privacy for the individual resident when towers aggregate.