The Cooper Union School of Architecture
FOURTH YEAR ARCHITECTURE OF THE CITY STUDIO
Autumn Semester, 2009
Professors Diane Lewis, Peter Schubert, Mersiha Veledar, Dan Sherer
VUOTARE - “TO VOID”
THE ARCHITECTURAL IMPACT OF THE DEFINED VOID IN THE URBAN FABRIC
PROGRAM: THE CIVIC INSTITUTION AS INSTITUTIONALIZED VOID
Vuotare – a verb:
to empty , to drain.
three linear stretches of Manhattan along three avenues:
Each Avenue should be considered North to south-
From 23rd street to 59th street consider the area that is one -and –a- half city blocks east and west of each avenue. Find the Sanborn maps of your selected avenue
from two different eras.
A.SELECT A LOT OF ANY SIZE AND CONSIDER IT A VOID.
Study the impact of that void upon the surrounding urban fabric.
Based on your observations, propose a massing and a program that “institutionalizes”, secures, the position of that void as memorable, important and energized in the Manhattan grid.
B.SELECT A LITERARY TEXT ON THE VOID
Each project will be delineated by a 22 inch square of urban fabric at 1/32nd inch = 1foot. The model should be constructed with all masses present so that it can be photographed before the implementation of the proposed void and with the void as the starting point for your redefinition of the surrounding masses and voids to implement your programmatic and structural intervention.
Plans and sections, drawn at the same scale as the model,
as well as
Plans and sections at 1/8th inch=one foot
A 6 foot square drawing of the street level entry condition,
drawn freehand at 3”= one foot.
An “Urban address” plan, delineating the position of the void relative to the avenue from 23rd to 59th street or any other significant relationships in the Manhattan grid of masses and voids.
Any important sketches, views, or details.
A definitive aspect of the art of designing a structure for Manhattan,
is to learn how to arrive at a tectonic result which is autonomous from
the pressure or evidence of real estate forces;
“the pressure of the lot line”.
Seagrams, Lever, Paley Park, 666 Fifth Avenue, Chase Plaza and a number of other architect’s achievements have set the level for overcoming the
Restrictions of the real estate boundaries of the Manhattan lot to arrive at a structure which defines its mass by virtue of defining a civic void as the more enunciated element of the project.
These definitive prototypes were achieved with the principals of the radiant city section and free plan street level , which provides a civic space in the form of an urban void to accompany any of the founding programs of these structures.
This design of inhabitable void and inhabitable mass is implemented on a programmatic as well as tectonic level, in order to achieve a mix of commercial, domestic, and civic activity. Their power is the interaction within the given existing conditions of the exact surroundings of the Manhattan grid of solid masses and voids that each stands within.
The recognition that Manhattan is a city comprised of property lines that define real estate boundaries, not architectural boundaries was exciting to the arguments of delirious New York , which was a sociological description of the city grid as a manifestation of capitalism that could be called a merchant thrill for the Dutch socialist and populist view of the city.
That social filter had a hard time with an individuated recognition of the architects who accomplished providing any civic program within the most highly commericialized real estate in the world- the Manhattan grid-
which was not implemented through a sociologic argument but rather though an architectural vision .
Each “ Lot” has a potential floor area and constricted massing profile delineated according to zoning envelopes that are defined by the location of the lot. Professionalist business oriented architectural practices resulted in the “ wedding cake” buildings that line Park Avenue, closing the street solidly up to its lot lines, a spatial sequence which is clearly only the substantiation of the real estate pressure to construct the maximum square footage in the form of a real estate diagram with no architectural mandate.
PLEASE BEGIN TO CONSTRUCT A FIRST BASE DRAWING WHICH SHOWS
THE SITE OF OPERATION AT THE 1/8 INCH SCALE FOCUS – we will work with you individually to establish the exact scale and framing of your “GIVEN SITE”- A VOID IN THE URBAN FABRIC.
The work will also begin with the initiation of the construction of the site model.
All models will be constructed with principles to be discussed at studio
for the structure of the streets , sidewalks, blocks, and depth of structural base.
FACTS, STRUCTURE- SELECTIVE CONSTRUCTION OF SITE CONDITIONS THROUGH TIME AND SPACE
Please remember that you may represent the site elements such as existing, proposed, and previously existing structures and artifacts, streets, geography, etc according to
Your “reading” of the facts of the site. This will be discussed in studio to insure
That you can implement different still life conditions of the urban fabric within the foundation of the structural base that you fabricate.