Diptych as Building
Nomination, H.I. Feldman Prize
In questioning how to join two to create one, only the façade of the Palazzo Ruccelai, the single Albertian structure, is preserved. With this tabula rasa both adjacent to and behind Rucellai, a framework based on the prescripts of Alberti’s text Della Pittura, and their manifestation in Sandro Botticelli’s painting Cestello Annunciation (1489), allows for a choreography of forms that define a diptych composition. Oscillating between the rational and the pictorial, contextual forces shear the supplemental building, establishing a void at the hinge. This voided, weaving hinge reflects the tension between the hands of the angel Gabriel and the Madonna figure in the Annunciation; the two figures incline towards one another, but do not yet touch, signaling the immanent motion of the composition. From this initial framework, additional contextual reactions from the triangular piazza in front of Ruccelai and the monastery cortile behind it signal entry along the diagonal and carve away at the mass beyond. Ruccelai’s original residential program is preserved, yet it is destabilized through the hinge as it intertwines with the new adjacent public institution. This conversation between existing and new, solid and void, ideal and destabilized, draws upon the call and response of the Annunciation, establishing forms in dialogue and poised for union, yet separated by the activated void of the hinge.
Drawing and Architectural Form
Visualization III: White Dragon
Our final project called for a site specific installation that complimented the formal language of the predominantly vertical front entry stair of Rudolph Hall. The installation mediated two scales - human experience and the building's larger context. Parametric design was used to generate the curved underside of the paper canopy into a straight line across the top. The form was then placed on a colonnade of ascending posts up the stair, inviting interaction and allowing mobility.
Architectura Design: Higher Ground
Challenging the basic purpose of the stacked stone walls proliferating the Northeast, this project transforms the stripped down stone wall from a simple barrier between the cacophony of the road and the Mill River to a form defining internal spaces. Diverting focus away from the street, the concept of the stone wall as both barrier and volume encompasses the program of a supplementary exhibition and workshop space for the adjacent Eli Whitney Museum. Cutting along the major diagonal axis leading from the entry of the Eli Whitney Museum to the river, the wall is inflected, signaling entry, and expanded, allowing the programmatic spaces to negotiate place within the wall. Their degree of interaction with the wall defines the degree of intimacy of the various programmatic spaces, inclining either towards the public street or the river. Layers of circulation gradually break down in formality as one approaches the final destination, the natural and changing river.
One enters the site through a puncture in the thinnest end of the stone wall, marking entry into the sequence of experiencing the site, yet remaining outdoors. From there, one can either move into the wall through the cafe- the most public space- and follow the internal sequence of enclosed spaces, or one can move directly down the slope on axis towards the river and waterfall beyond. At the river's edge, a meandering and narrow wooden path leads through the trees, marking the most minimal form of landscape manipulation. Breaking down manipulations of the landscape from the harsh insertion of a stone wall at the parking lot to the gentle touch of the wooden path at the sites most natural edge choreographs a sequential experience that gradually immerses visitors into the haptic nature of the site.