Connecticut River Dam and Lock


Project Description

The civic character of typical dams is defined by two problems: 1) its elements are either underground or highly internalized 2) its elements are experienced as disparate parts. This project uses the lock to reveal what would otherwise be underground or internalized functions – the penstocks, the spillways, the powerhouse and the turbine hall – by exposing them throughout the internal façade of the lock, similar to the Pompidou Center. Translating underground into underwater, the dam dramatizes this experience by submerging and revealing its elements within the space between the upstream and downstream of the river. This dam then unifies all these parts with a formal language of interiority and transparency that folds them into the wall of the dam; while this interiority is expressive, the rest of the dam’s wall is muted. These elements become figure and relief along the wall of the lock, creating a new space that is both exterior and interior.