Advanced Design Studio: McLaughlin
Whitechapel Community Center is an immigration center servicing an evolving immigrant population in the borough of Tower Hamlets and greater London. It addresses the issue of democracy as an opportunity for the underrepresented to be represented. Built conceptually and spatially off the scale and idea of one voting booth, the first threshold into the building is composed of a series of permanent voting frames. Each consecutive space doubles in size and program and accommodates offices niches, classrooms, meeting spaces, and a long assembly hall. The hall sits above the initial voting booth signifying the collective voice. The building’s poche follows a similar pattern of growth as the voting frames thicken to allow bookshelves, small closets for chairs, circulation, and restrooms. The construction sequence aligns with the logic of the building’s concept as it is composed solely of wooden panels and slats.
The booths support elections of various scales from presidential elections to the chairman of the Bangladeshi Merchants Association. The building investigates the idea of democracy as a true collective voice of the people as visitors and users are combed through the fin-like building from the booth into the long assembly hall. As the façade of the building becomes a machine for democracy to occur on a regular basis, the procession of casting a vote, walking through the booth, into or past the line of sequentially growing spaces, and emptying into the large assembly hall reveals how the individual voice transforms into a part of the collective identity.
Tianjin Industrial Waterfront Re-Development
Tianjin Industrial Waterfront Re-Development envisions a mixed-use waterfront district that connects to a greater network of urban development along the river’s northern edge while maintaining a diversity of urban fabric by retaining the grid of the site’s industrial past. Through the relocation of the Tanggu Railway station, the site becomes a vital link to Beijing, Tianjin’s city center, and the new Central Business District via the planned high speed rail extension. A variegated urban street network constantly draws residents and visitors down toward and back from the water’s edge with a main pedestrian axis that becomes a promenade toward the river. The end of the promenade is met with a waterfront theater with sub-axes that lead back inland toward the old shipyard factory building and crane yard, reused to be a convention center and sculpture park. Restaurant and shopping amenities are embedded in between the triangulated public hinge points with a corridor of hotels that include ground level retail linking the train station to the convention center. The proposed master plan investigates the duality of the city and the water’s edge as building envelopes respond to the varying conditions set up by the two edges.
Coney Island is no longer the place for fantasy or experimental urbanism. For “THE CONEY ISLAND” to flourish, its fantastical identity must be salvaged and reimagined. By implementing a Wunderkammer urbanism to shelve Coney Island’s historic fragments in newly constituted environments, the island can be reimagined with a strategy that employs the very thing that had once signaled the elimination of Coney’s fantasy landscape: the grid. For Coney, this way of urbanizing subsumed the fantastical into the regimented, ruled, and controlled. In this scheme the grid becomes the shelves on which objects in their oddities meet landscape. The buildings provide the frame, and sit above streets that have been raised to resist incremental water rise.