The Cooper Union School of Architecture
Fall Semester, 2008
Professors Diane Lewis, Peter Schubert, Mersiha Veledar, Thomas Tsang
TOWER / ACROPOLIS
free | engaged | disengaged | relieved | imbedded | ghosted (removed, subtracted) | doubled | bundled | tangent | en framed | suspended
These conditions for the architectural expression of a tower and that of an acropolis can be read into the existing urban fabric to express new visions for the intrinsic character of Manhattan.
This studio program is a challenge to define and locate these two archetypes of urban form and spatial phenomenon: the tower and the acropolis in the fabric of Manhattan.
Manhattan is a city of towers from without, and rarely from within, Seagrams and Chase being notable.
The tower has become a commercial typology that does not bear the spatial potency of its architectural meaning. The project was to locate towers and the civic spatial spans that can amplify their presence, at any scale from intimate to mile high.
The positioning of such conditions in Manhattan necessitates both intervention and/or the spatial redefinition of existing conditions at whatever scale the studio participant deemed appropriate to both the tectonic and spatial demands of their proposed ideal civic program.
The relation of form to program is tested and evaluated for its richness and redefinition of the strata of the city and a continuum of civic to private activities in any selected area.
The project was developed through a series of required studies:
1. THE VERTICAL AXIS OF MANHATTAN: A drawing of select and definitive horizontal strata of the city fabric from both inside and out.
2. A PLAN ANALYSIS OF THE ACROPOLIS ATHENS: Each architect “read” the Acropolis for inspiration to a civic still life.
3. AUTONOMOUS DERIVATION OF A TOWER: AN IDEAL STRUCTURAL AND SPATIAL PLAN /SECTION RELATION FOR A CONTEMPORARY TOWER—WITH & WITHOUT INTEGRATION TO EXISTING FABRIC.
Each project was developed in plan and section at two scales, the urban and the intimate in models and drawings. The TOWER/ACROPOLIS proposed programs such as: residence and performance place for the musicians of Carnegie Hall, diplomats congress library domicile facing the United Nations, a street chapel at the west of Trinity Church, a domestic tower with the town house block at Lincoln Tunnel, cinema theatres, studios and an archive spanning Houston Street, a university at St. Barts, a new wing for the Museum of Natural History, a “dovecote” museum tower facing JP
Morgan at Wall Street, a bridge/theatre between Harlem and Columbia University in Morningside Heights, along with a number of other programs specifically responsive to the existing conditions of the site.
The Cooper Union School of Architecture
Spring Semester, 2008
Professors Lebbeus Woods, Mersiha Veledar, Christoph a. Kumpusch, Jennifer Lee
21st CENTURY UNIVERSITY
The intention of the studio was to explore the potentials of a 21st century university campus in New York City. We used as a focus the West Harlem site proposed for the Columbia University campus extension. Exploring the best relationships between different programs of study and research, independently of Columbia’s planned programs for the site, our aim—working individually and in teams—was to create a Proto-Urban Campus that anticipated future developments in education.
Our approach involved the creation of a planning matrix for the site. A matrix differs fundamentally from a master plan. Instead of being based on predetermined programs of use, such as School of Business, School of Art, and the like, it is a three dimensional armature designed for the site that will accept many interdisciplinary and hybrid educational programs likely to develop in the future. Seven teams of four students conceived, designed, and presented seven matrix schemes. From these, a jury selected a matrix based on idealized paths of movement through and above the site on which individuals worked for the remainder of the semester, developing their innovative educational programs and projects. These may be understood as temporary or semi-permanent constructions in an evolving architectural and educational landscape.