ASSIGNMENT: imagine a future dystopia placed on the studio class site
With the widening gap between upper and lower classes, our future urban condition is shaped by a space race of sorts, with the wealthiest individuals of society racing to build taller and taller structures in order to control more elevated terrain. This vertical race is compounded by the relaxing of building codes on height restrictions in most urban areas, intended to achieve higher densities and encourage a culture of micro-housing; however, this lack of restrictions only helped the wealthier class, diminishing the value of land on the ground plane. Living conditions become almost unbearable, without the ability to farm due to shading from the buildings above, the continued problems with flooding on the ground plane which were never solved, and spillage from the elevated planes above. Life above the canopy is blissful and perfectly conditioned, almost an exact copy of the original ground plane and inhabited exclusively by the wealthiest classes, who are constantly engaged in cutthroat competition to build taller structures for bragging rights. These people are incredibly ignorant of life on the ground plane, unaware of the devastating effects of the canopy to the environment beneath them.
Penn State BArch Program, Third Year: Furniture Gallery and Studio (1 week)
Awarded First Honor
The late Bill Hajjar, a prominent local architect and former studio professor at Penn State, is well-known for leading the movement of mid-century modern design in central Pennsylvania. It was on the property of one of his more prominent projects, the Eisenstein House, that we were instructed to design a small gallery with attached workshop to display and restore mid-century modern furniture.
When curating an exhibition, the primary goal is to create an environment that inspires, organizes, & advertises the collection. I was intrigued by this small gallery’s ability to provide a look into a past time. The gallery provides this vignette of a zeitgeist by carefully composing an arrangement of restored furniture in a monolithic form that removes visitors from “the now” and places them in a blank, vacuous space. In order to intrigue passersby, a single window with a featured furniture piece hints at the contents of the gallery, serving as signage for the somewhat obscured building. The simplicity of the block with a single window display creates a compelling vignette of a past time.
The reading room is somewhat of an extension of the mood of the gallery, providing a space for reflection. Being buried into the site, with windows above the seating area, visitors are again immersed into their thoughts of another time.
The studio portion of the program had to be treated differently than the gallery and reading room. Here, creation, production, and activity encourage passersby to take a closer look. The form of the studio, then, deserved abundant transparency to display the activity of restoration.
All the pieces of this small building serve to provide a small glimpse, or a vignette, of mid-century life through design.
With a little too much time over a winter break, I co-opted an old rendering to create a holiday card from my studio group so I could experiment with snow textures.