Michael Graves School of Design
This proposal for the Michael Graves School of Design is at once a critique of the banal office park architecture of the site and the programmatic composition of Rudolph Hall. A diaphanous glass box hosts intertwined studio spaces and faculty offices. Rather than a traditional voided center such as in Rudolph Hall, the building is filled with a colored sculptural condenser of shared spaces that include auditoriums, classrooms, fabrication facilities and student lounges. This social center, conceivably caught in amber, is suspended from above and sculpts space throughout the box in order to maintain a dynamic visual connection to the open studios that surround it. It designates a space for student ownership and fosters communication with the greater public by glowing from within. Volatility is engendered by the center’s tension with the rigid box, alluding to the inherent power and activism of the collective student body.
Rome: Continuity and Change
The wall is an aggregation of 14 unique bricks that were CNC carved from foam blocks. The bricks aggregate and nest into each other to form the wall without any for nails or glue. The nested bricks are held by friction and connected by 3D printed clamps that cinch them together. Instead of remaining a static partition, the bricks are interactive and responsive to movement. As people move around the wall, the bricks undulate at their centers. A motor pulls the white fabric stretched over each brick inward to its center-- the motion mimics the poking of a belly button. The wall becomes more than a barrier by interacting with its environment. The responsive brick makes it possible to perceive movement on the other side of the wall without having to see it.
A Shaker community is reimagined according to a dwelling code based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Various elements of a Shaker dwelling are reorganized into an over-scaled megastructure according to parameters of physiology, safety, belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Sleeping pods, excessive built-ins, and embedded lookouts cluster around an amplified Shaker staircase to collectively conjure a critique of the ritualistic and uncanny architectural tendencies of Shaker life. The final proposal for a house in New Haven echoes these ideas of psychological human needs and the architectural methodology of the Shakers by emphasizing communal space and anchoring it with the stair. An internal volume of social space thrusts through the house and connects internal space with external context; gesturing towards the neighborhood and mediating the corner condition of the site. Formal composition is directly linked to the hierarchy of social volumes, connection to the outdoors, and the distribution of natural light.
This project aims to mediate the abrupt juxtaposition of the bucolic landscape of the site with the adjacent commercial context and highway. By using the context as a generative tool, the major programmatic components of the project were placed in line with existing buildings and turn their backs to the street. In the interstitial zone between buildings, an artificial landscape pushes back on the commercial context, creating an oscillation of land mass and building across the site. A corridor traverses this oscillation, making the inhabitant aware of the contextual mediation occurring on the site. The project aims to suspend the inhabitant within and deny the comprehension of zero. At high tide, the built planes and axial corridor flood and destabilize the ground plane further. The architecture, in effect, blurs the distinction between the natural and the artificial by not only inverting the landscape with man-made construction, but also constantly fluctuating in water level throughout the day.