Author : Anahit Hayrapetyan

University : Columbia University | GSAPP

Status : MSAAD, 2016

Advisors : Ada Tolla, Giuseppe Lignano (LOT-EK) and Thomas de Monchaux

Title : Overgrown

I’m obsessed with a line.

I’m obsessed with starting line somewhere and ending nowhere.

I’m obsessed with fields. Field of buildings, field of columns, field of shapes,field of objects…

I’m obsessed with overgrown, forsaken spaces.

Spaces where entropy increases and therefore inevitably reducing man’s attempts at order. Random urban overgrown fabric that facilitates human engagement with nature.Organic wild world where you breathe the nature, you live in a nature, you experience the nature.

Architecture that is not just a building but is a process. It’s a dynamic process of interactions and relationships between human and nature, it is a naturally formed space. Space where is a perpetual interaction between building and environment: both human behavior and the natural world. Structures that move toward higher entropy. Force of impermanence that constantly reshapes architecture. Field that intersects with surface which is not architecture, [ mass which ] creates unexpected, wild spaces. Field of nature that merges with architecture and takes over it.

This wild urban condition inhabits the overgrown island that contains five ecological atmospheres of cult, fitness, storage, retail and hotel.

Cult of nature

In [ this world ] the cult is a nature. It’s a building dedicated to the protection and experience of nature. It’s a seed bank that conceals the wild nature inside the building. Seed bank cells surround the field of trees, the cells are located at the outer perimeter of the building. All circulation connections are located inside the courtyard. In different parts of [ the courtyard ] there are meditation rooms and observatory bridges. Meditation spaces work as an alternative to a praying room. They are lifted up from the ground, they float over the wild texture. The building is a sequence of serene spaces that interflow with nature.

Synchronized Randomness

In [ this block ] the fitness is a training of brain and imagination: learning center and an extreme sports center that help to synchronize randomness in your brain. The building has many entrances, many doors, you can choose which one to open or where to start. Series of narrow paths lead to other doors. Inner spaces of the building are the learning center and the outer shell of the building and green courtyards are part [ of extreme ] sports program. The envelope of the building is a climbing surface. The green matter took over the three units of the porous building. This three towers are green spaces to rest, to climb, to dream, to think or to rest. In the end of your journey when there are no closed doors anymore in your brain, you can experience bungee jumping from the top of the building.


The storage is an underground crematory,archive of body containers. It is an underground structure that is hidden under the wild nature. 4 entrances to the crematorium spaces are located inside the overgrown field. In underground floors there are tunnels surrounded by body container archive. Within overgrown [ ground there ] is a void-the canyon. Around the canyon there is a gallery, the ramp for walk. The last level of the canyon is the ceremony space.


Nine public islands. Nine retail towers. Nine ways to shop.

The retail is divided into nine section-buildings. Each tower is devoted to one type of shopping-for clothes, shoes, sporting goods, furniture, home appliances, toys, cosmetics and gardening. In different parts islands are open air or closed restaurants and public squares. Towers are interconnected in different floors with indoor pedestrian bridges that duplicate the fluid shapes of the ground.

Overlapping Interruptions

And the hotel is a space for temporary working, living and storing. The building is divided into three layers of storage, co-working spaces and apartments. The system of walls in co-working and storage spaces become a system of columns in upper floors with apartment cells. These three overlapping structures interrupted with a green matter, with an urban farm that starts deep from the underground and goes across co-working spaces and apartments.

Visitors and inhabitants of this island lose the feeling of time and reality. Serene spaces bring them memories that they never had or did not know that they had.

These are five responsive buildings that are willing to change with the time and enhance the relationship between time and architecture, human and nature.


S//A : What's the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Anahit Hayrapetyan_Overgrown explores naturally formed spaces where the nature took over the architecture. Here architecture is a dynamic process of interactions and relationships between human and nature. This is a real unreal world where you lose the feeling of time and reality.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
AH_Fine Arts

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
AH_Be always curious and trust your intuition. Try to find your individual voice in architecture and work on it constantly, develop it.

S//A : Describe your dream project
AH_Social project that will change people's life. Spaces that might change according to the users need.