Finalist - Chicago Architectural Biennial Kiosk Competition 2015
In collaboration with Thomas Kelley & Chuck Paros
1. ON INTENTION, OR THE OCCULT MONUMENT
Like a small child’s not so inconspicuous hiding spot, this project is intent on concealing itself poorly. This is not to say that the project aims to present itself poorly, but rather, present itself in a manner which tries to conceal or mute, as opposed to embellish, its inherent qualities of monumentality, iconicity, and symbolism. To begin: look closely and you will see that our disguise is fairly superficial (i.e. skin deep). A thinly meshed veil conceals, but also attracts, an attenuated figure held within its loose fitting cylindrical body. Only after peeling back this veil, now a curtain, that the project reveals its function. Alas, it is simply a kiosk. Nothing more, nothing less. Still grand, however. Pull up a seat and transact your business.
2. ON HISTORY, OR THE ECONOMY OF SPECTACLE
The Exposition Universelle of 1889 unveiled the Eiffel Tower, a glorified entrance arch. The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 was saved from bankruptcy by George Ferris’ Wheel, essentially a vertical carousel. In 1939, the New York World’s Fair hoisted its visitors to a height of two-hundred-and-fifty feet to simulate the effects of falling with a parachute. It goes without saying that grandiosity and spectacle are often the main attractions of any public event. Fast forward to 2015, the first Chicago Architecture Biennial. Is spectacle still a desirable pursuit? Perhaps a more economical position is more favorable for the times we currently inhabit. The selection of a kiosk to speak as spectacle is a potentially futile request of such a modest architectural type. That said, given Chicago’s climate, the charge of spectacle lends itself to lifespan. If you are to look closely at function, the existing kiosks efficiently meet the needs of the various vendors that supply goods and services each year to the millions of visitors to Chicago’s lakefront. All summer long these modest huts are alive with energy, but for nine months of the year these once active spaces are shuttered closed to form a ghost town; a constant reminder that the magic of summer in Chicago has disappeared. Our proposal for a new kiosk does not seek to reinvent the type. In fact, it functions as easily and efficiently as the existing kiosks do, but it does so while providing alternative readings to what constitutes a spectacular year longinteraction. A veil dangles with its shadows cast onany given ground it occupies. The kiosk invites the casual passersby to join in its dance. Overall, the structure is more than just a place of commerce, but now a shy icon that tempts its audience to stare into and beyond.
3. ON FEATURES, OR AN ACT IN THREE PARTS
The kiosk assembly system is intentionally simple. The features are organized into three parts: (a) base, (b) frame, and (c) veil.
All parts are mechanically fastened to one another on site so the kiosk can be assembled and disassembled multiple times for easy transportation or storage.
The base is made of two component parts: base structure , and cabinetry.. The structure of the base is a 12’ diameter steel ring made of bent 8” C channelwith four column anchors attached to it. Diamond plate is welded to the steel frame as a finished surface. Thecabinetry is a simple assembly of a formed steel wall attached to the outer diameter of the base. The formed steel walls will have grommets located within each reveal to allow for flexibility in attaching banners and signage of various sizes to it. A steel counter is attached to the wall, making a space for storage carts to be located. When sited in sandy location base can be stabilized using sand augers
The frame structure is made of the three components: Primary,Secondary, and Vail structure. The primary structure is made of four (4”x6”x35’) steel tubes bent into the same profile.. The four tubes are set into the four column anchors of the base. The secondary structure is made of two collar rings that lock the four columns together and stabilized the structure. The two collar rings are located at the midpoint anr top of structure. In addition to stabilizing the structure these two collar rings act as anchor points for the 2”x2” bent steel tube that forms the conical silhouette of the of the structure. A light is attached to the upper collar ring and the lower collar ring provides anchor points for a glass canopy for shade and cover. The Vail structure is an 18’ diameter steel ring made from bent (3”x6”) steel tube anchored to the ends of the four steel columns.
Stainless steel coil mesh is attached toan equally spaced set of grommets that securely attach the steel mesh to the structure and produces the pleated curtains like quality of the kiosk. While having a visual delicacy the steel mesh of the veilwill have a rigidity that will allow the curtain to serve as a means to secure the kiosk in off hours and the off season. The extra length of the curtain allows it to elegantly bunch at the ground while open and then be pulled tight to the 12’ dia. base and locked during off hours and off seasons.
Museum of Ethnography, Budapest Hungary Competition 2013
The Museum of Ethnography in Budapest explores the idea of a Stoic figure with a magical interior. The form of the building is a simple extrusion of the site allowing the building to negotiate between the urban edge of the site and the supple geometries of the park while allowing the city’s public transportation system to slip between the edge of the Museum and the park, feeding both with visitors. The massiveness of the building is softened by the fact that it is made out of glass block that will glimmer in the sunlight and become a glowing beacon in the park at night. The filleted geometry of the corners is used to produce two cuts in the building that allows for entry into the building as well as functioning as gateways to the park. It’s at these two gateways that it is revealed that just beyond its glimmering monotone glass block exterior is another glass wall that fills the interior with a mosaic of colored light made from patterns linked to Hungary’s cultural history.
Winner of Sukkahville Toronto Competion 2012
Nested Sukkah is an exploration of the optical and spatial potentials of a figure nested inside of another figure. The exterior form of the Sukkah is a distorted white box with a single opening in each of the five exposed surfaces. The gem-like interior figure is made of five red conical surfaces that are linked to the five openings in the exterior box. Both the interior and exterior figures are made of 3” wide slat walls. The exterior slats and the interior slats are on an alternative rhythm that allows the interior and exterior slats to interlock at each opening in the exterior box. The offset and interlocking of the two slat wall systems allow the two distinct figures to merge and co-exist as one. Whether viewed from the exterior or the interior, one is always aware of the presence of the other figure. As one moves around the exterior of the Sukkah, a mysterious red figure is always present. While inside the red conical figure, walls direct your view up, down and towards the horizon through the opening in the white box that encases the gem-like interior. Nested Sukkah is an architecture that forces you to look at it and the world around it through a new lens.
Floating, Walking, Figures: Are three projects development for an exhibition at the University of Illinois Chicago. These three houses are an exploration of my interest into the diagram as a Formal, Spatial, and Organizational device that is a manifestation of a fundamental disciplinary project that is then transformed through the use of different graphic systems, spatial elements or both. Floating, Walking, Figures refers to three different formal qualities and three different relationships to the ground. All three projects are small scale houses in an attempt to engage in the long architectural tradition of using the house as a testing ground for new and innovative ideas. Like the Domino House diagram I see these fundamental diagrams having broader architectural potentials.
The Floating House uses a single element the cone, to generate an irregular figure that hovers tentatively over the landscape. Floating a mere 4’ above the ground this irregular figure contains all of the private spaces, and all of the public spaces of the house are located beneath this hovering mass. A continuous ribbon of glass located between the ground and underbelly of the house provided the half submerged public spaces with a radically different relationship to the ground as well as a panoramic view of it. Unlike the living area, occupants of the floating figure are never given a panoramic view, only controlled views. The cones either frame specific views of the ground or frame views of only the sky. The cones at times also give visual connections internally between the public and private areas of the house. On the roof a convex cone creates a rooftop patio that is linked to the living area by an internal stair.
The Walking House explores how an elevated mass can organize the space below it. The Walking house does not try to hide the fact that it touches the ground, but instead take pleasure in it. All of the public space of the house occupies the ground plane while all of the private spaces occupy the figure itself. One goal of the walking house was to generate a “vague form” that osculates between being “house like” and “Figural”. To do this a gable roof was manipulated and the way the building touched the ground was controlled to produce an animal like figure out of architecturally known elements. The way the figure touches the ground is not only critical to produce the sensation of a walking building, but is also the means by which all of the public living spaces are organized.
The star house is interested in producing a legible figure in plan only. Through strategically placed cuts an irregular shaped box is transformed into a star like figure. The introduction of the star figure into the house typology transforms the house from an outward focused object in the landscape into and inward focused figure that pulls the landscape in. The four cuts that generate the star figure act as courtyard like spaces for the house. The outer walls of the house are solid and windowless. The only windows in the house are the floor to ceiling one way mirrored glass. Every space in the house has a visual connection to one or more of these courtyards. Though the house only has inward focused views to the landscape contained within the courtyards it doesn’t feel contained or claustrophobic. Rather the presence of these courtyards with their one way mirrored glass reflects the landscape and begins to erase the presence of the other parts of the house. From every location in the house the occupants have the sensation of looking out at a vast landscape even though they are looking inward at a contained courtyard like space.
Re-du Haut is a project generated for a faculty exhibition at the University of Illinois Chicago in 2013. It is an elaboration of previous themes within my work: Figural plan, Poche, and Vague Silhouettes. In addition the project rethinks the notion of plan as generator to look for new ways to use architectural references as a generative device and a means to engage in a disciplinary conversation. The project was generated by scaling the plan of an Iconic master work to fit within a 30’x60’ box. The three dimensional reinterpretation of this reference plan and its interaction with the bounding box produces an interior that is organized by three distinct figures that osculate back and forth between figure and void. As one moves around and through the project one’s perception of the three figures are always changing due to the use of color and transparency. This is an attempt to translate the figural ambiguities of the plan into spatial and visual ambiguities. The project's ambiguities are meant to engage the viewer and undermine the legibility of the original architectural reference. Only through a thorough reading of the plan would the reference become completely legible.
Peepshow, Calgary, Alberta Canada Competition 2005
NEXUS weaves the past, present and future of Calgary into a visual/spatial event that changes a viewer's perception as s/he moves through it. The pavilion consists of two screens on a surface that folds into a space for each. Screen #1 projects the spontaneous ballet of visitors and passersby as shadow theater, while Screen #2displays video art. Images that evoke Calgary's cattle and oil history accent the folded surface, condensing into and dissolving out of focus with each step a visitor takes. As the city's individuals fold together to become Calgary, so to do the discreet elements converge into the unity of NEXUS.
2969 House, Columbus Ohio 2008-10
Surrounded by a homogenous sea of lawns the typical suburban house sits statically with shrubbery and flowers plastered against its facade for the viewing pleasure of passengers of cars as they speed past. 2969 House rethinks this typical condition by exploring ways in which a house can engage with and be engaged by the landscape. Interdependence between house and landscape is created by the way elements of the house extend and capture exterior space, and by the way landscape elements become exaggerated and figural. 2969 House opens itself up in ways that allow views into and through the house from various positions within the landscape. The house is also deliberate in its orchestration of the ways in which occupants look out into the landscape. Because of the interdependence between house and landscape the space of the yard is treated as an extension of the house. No longer will the house be a static object placed in a neutral landscape, and no longer will the yard be a vast homogenous landscape that is only viewable from the car.