In a contemporary coastal city, the ground and buildings need to be active performers in the negotiation between water and land. This project envisions the ground as a piece of infrastructure that protects against storm-surge and directs rainwater. Bridgeport’s coal-fired power plant is phased out and replaced by a new power plant embedded in a public park built with “spoils” dredged from the softened east bank of the Pequonnock River. The “headland” created by this dramatic new topography amps up Bridgeport’s underlying structure as a peninsula landscape. Private investment in the power plant is leveraged to enable a new hardened edge on the Pequonnock’s west bank. The swapping of rail and highway creates a previously overlooked site for new residential development, protected by the remnants of the rail line reborn as a recreational greenway. The result is a reorientation of downtown Bridgeport to its third waterfront, the Pequonnock River.
Cloud-Watching From The Cubicle
An Answer to the Tyranny Of The Gridded Ceiling
The gridded acoustical tile ceiling is standard fare in post-war modernist offices. All environmental controls are consolidated into one coordinated system that promises to hush office chatter, heat and cool the air, and lend work surfaces an even, gentle glow.
In practice, the open office ceiling yields a flat, generic quality of sound, heats the warmest part of the room in the winter, and blows superfluous cold air in the summer to compensate for unnecessarily bright lights. In the name of modular flexibility, the gridded acoustical ceiling is taken for granted and has produced an incredible sameness of light, temperature, and sound- absolute rigidity from absolute flexibility.
As designers address the changing nature of the contemporary workspace, they must expand their field of view to include the ceiling as a malleable surface that can define space and meaningfully shape the acoustical qualities of that space.
We propose a challenge to the accepted model of interior space. This proposal is a provocation, one solution out of many possible solutions to this pressing question. Lighting, heating and cooling, sound attenuation, and seating are all reconsidered.
Visualization II: Combined Perspective
This freehand perspective combines views of two physical models of gourds made by tiling discrete planar surfaces. The drawing picks up where the models left off, extrapolating each model’s continuing growth.
Architectural Design: Higher Ground
The site, at the base of the Lake Whitney dam, was interpreted as a series of thresholds between key land and water forms, all differentiated in section. Ridge, field, shore, inlet, river, dam, lake, forest, hill all unfold in a short but intense sequence as one moves toward the water. Using this is a clue, this I sought to intensify existing transitions and layer new thresholds onto the site.
A simple glass building veiled in a screen welcomes visitors with a large, flexible exhibition space, inflected against the river’s curve. A series of workshops, sheltered and linked by a similar screen, are arranged along the river. These small work spaces are accessible to artists from the water’s edge and on display for visitors via a path that rises gently toward an inlet at the base of the dam. Between the exhibition space and workshops, the landscape peels up to admit visitors to a café below. Ramps mediate between levels, extending thresholds between programs.