Today at F+ we are keeping it state side with this competition project coming out of Lawrence Technological University, out in Southfield, Michigan. The project takes a philosophical and introspective view into people in the machine of society today. Can architecture really change the way that society functions and the way we live our lives today? The project is a visually gripping project and an intriguing view on the reality of today, designed by Daniel Merritt and Kyle Post.
The notion that we are defined by what we do pervades modern society. One who does not, is not. The enslaving cycles of unchecked production and consumption must be broken in the pursuit of true, fulfilling goals. We are not defined by what we do, we are each individuals who find our true identity in who we are. Our character, beliefs, and passions long for relief from the pressure of doing, which relegates such characteristics as secondary and quaint. Respect of others and of self has been replaced with efficiency and the dollar.
Located in the heart of Manhattan, Times Square is the de-facto epicenter of consumerism in the World. It is in the midst of this context that the Religare Institute of New York, IN[tro]VERSION, seeks to facilitate the practice of “being.” Yet to experience the transition from “doing” to “being” is neither comfortable, nor desirable to those who have failed to resist the seductions of our society. The transition must be gradual. At IN[tro]VERSION, the gradual, transitory experience from “doing” to “being” is facilitated through programmatic, circulatory, and environmental experiences.
In the lower “doing” section, slight shifts from the normative ubiquity of consumer culture are made to contextual programmatic elements. A barter-trade bazaar replaces a retail gift shop. A co-op restaurant replaces wholesale items with homegrown ones. Each of these programmatic elements seeks to provide a transitionary cue that prepares the guest for an introversion experience. In the upper “being” section, the vertical transition is focused around five main exterior garden spaces that integrate programmatically with related interior “being” spaces.
The gardens maintain full accessibility and environmental stability through all four seasons through the integration of kinetic gills with spiracles that respond both involuntarily and voluntarily to various environmental and programmatic criteria. The gardens have a specific vertical order that seeks to facilitate a phenomenological transitory experience. The diverse programmatic requirements are accommodated through the use of a subtle triangulation system derived from the flexible ester bonds that make up the backbone of DNA.
The primary structure responds to the programmatic elements and environmental considerations by varying the angle of connection between elements. These connection reactions can be either static or kinetic depending on the programmatic need. The angular exterior aesthetic is inversed on the interior through the use of smooth, curved panels that create an unexpected and fresh experiential phenomenon. This inversion is combined with the perceptual inversion of the structures organization. From the East-West perspectives, the structure responds to program and environment through an undulating, organic form. The North-South perspectives respond through an organized layering of structural graphenes. This order references the contextual urban order as well as the internal order that each of us can find within ourselves if we look from the correct perspective. IN[tro]VERSION finds itself in a contextually inverted situation. In order to “be” in a place that says we must ceaselessly “do”, we must seek a gradual and purposeful transition to a state of being and introversion. Religare at IN[tro]VERSION.
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All images and text via Daniel Merritt & Kyle Post