Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Fortress, The Warehouse and the Marketplace: 2005 Master's Thesis (Abridged Version)

The curious and purposeful individual is fueled in part by the idea that there are others out there like him.  He seeks knowledge and finds joy in learning, but he also knows that what he learns and what he values are intrinsically connected to what he does and what he produces.  He therefore views the library not as a place of escape, but as a forum and a resource integral to the course of his life.

This project is not a monastery, an intimidating civic palace, an egalitarian warehouse of books, or simply a digital resource center.  Why must the library act as a stand-alone civic institution?  It is my contention that the connection between thought and action, between the individual and the community, will most clearly be seen when manifestations of education and business are fused together within the same program, with the library serving as the mediating core.  Classroom space for a school for continuing education and office space for start-up businesses commingle, tied together by the library and ancillary public spaces (an exhibition hall, a lecture theater, a coffee shop).

Keeping in mind the parallel goals of social interaction and the possibility for isolated contemplation, I formulated two design strategies: embedding and porosity.  They enjoy a complementary dialogue, as the act of embedding elaborates not only upon the idea of solitary thought, but rooting the project in the city and in the site.  The embedded site and building are then rendered porous, as spaces are carved out and the enclosure is pulled apart.  These two strategies play off of each other to create a dynamic succession of experiences, alternating between the open forum and the contemplative realm.

Early Conceptual Sketches
View of South Entry Courtyard
Resource Center Interior
E-W Section
Detail Model of Exhibition Hall Screen Wall
Detail Model of Screen Wall
Site Context
Lower Level Plan with Embedded Pods
Upper Level Plan with Embedded Pods
Resource Center Atrium with Embedded Pod Beyond

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