Jacqueline Liang Kow
Advanced Design Studio: Wood
This project proposes an interfaith chapel right off of the Boulevard Triomphal in Libreville, Gabon. Religion has always played an integral role in the community and culture of the country, and with increasing religious diversity in the country, the city seemed primed for an iconic building that celebrated and preserved the religious culture of the country. In studying several religious typologies and recognizing the opportunity for taking advantage of exterior space, the building is centered around two types of ritual space: the courtyard and the chapel. While these spaces allow for all liturgical practices to occur, there is no demand for specific forms that are generally associated with specific religions.
Because of this, the form of both the chapel and courtyard are instead shaped by the spatial demands of the program that the interfaith chapel can spur in a city like Libreville. The interfaith chapel goes beyond just a religious space, but a piece of social infrastructure that is currently lacking on the Boulevard Triomphal. The building has a youth club, auditorium, exhibition space, and library that allow for different means of engagement to religious artefacts. At the very top of the building, there is also a public platform that allows for one to look back onto the rest of the city and back down on to the central chapel.
Steven Holl’s Trajectory Towards Monolithic Architecture
The Tianjian Ecocity Ecology and Planning Museums both represent additive and subtractive form‐making in their purest monolithic form. While the two museums come from their own respective lineages, their formal similarities produce tensions that a monolithic building normally wouldn’t have. To revisit Holl’s Hangzhou Normal University as a foil to the Tianjian museums, the performing arts center and the art museum had no formal or material similarity. As two separate monoliths, they stand apart from not only the rest of the campus’ fabric, but from each other. If there is any relationship between the two, it is that the subtractive monolith acts more like a fabric building because it expresses a box primitive as its form and therefore is more introverted than the additive monolith.
However, when looking at the Ecology and Planning Museums for Tianjian, their formal similarities to one another change the reading of both buildings. If the two buildings weren’t across from one another, either building could be read as just a clear evolution towards monolithic form for Holl. However, in the context of one another the question of what came first, the chicken or the egg, rises. One building doesn’t stand out more than the other; instead they now operate as an inseparable pair. As a pair they can ignore the rest of the surrounding fabric as most monoliths do
Our project takes on two of the major issues facing Coney Island in the near future; one of rising sea levels and increasingly damaging storm surge, and one of rising median age. In order to address Coney’s infrastructural and demographic vulnerabilities, we utilized the berm as a traversable, protective barrier. The berms go beyond a mere act of preservation to serve as a catalyst for new development through the intensification of Coney Island’s many unique neighborhood enclaves as urban islands. By formalizing existing, yet invisible, boundaries, we create three distinct zones—the inner enclave, the berm, and resulting interstitial land. As we evacuate the low lying areas outside of the berm system, the interiors begin to densify, eventually forming richer urban environments and unique destinations for the greater region. In response, the berm surface and sacrificial zones consolidate programs that can endure and thrive despite environmental changes. As one continuous network of open space, the interstitial fabric both reacts to each enclave’s identity and unites Coney as a whole.