Wall Veil: A Bereavement Community for New Orleans – Rachel Dickey


Bringing you our first project from Georgia Tech School of Architecture, home of the one and only Dean Alan Balfour, designed by Rachel Dickey.  The design investigation takes on the challenge of dissecting and understanding the structural integrity of a birds nest.  Through this breakdown comes a creative blend between the veiling and reveling of space through structure framing interior and exterior space.  Check it out after the jump!

SCHOOL: Georgia Tech School of Architecture
STUDENT: Rachel Dickey
PROFESSOR: Lars Spuybroek
YEAR: Spring 2011

“This proposal for a New Orleans Bereavement Center grows out of a studio research agenda that investigated the concept of digital craft through a range of issues, spanning from Ruskin’s wall-veil to the natural processes of bird nesting. Both notions seemed applicable to inhabiting a place of retreat during the grieving process. The project tries to learn from the wall-veil in order to suggest a structure which both hides and reveals. Similarly to how a veil covers one’s face as a way of retreating, the project also provides a place of refuge for those who have lost a loved one.

The primal bird nest, with its relationship to natural cyclical process of becoming and disappearing, provides a place for development, comfort, and nurturing for new life. The Bereavement Center analogously is place where people can come for comfort and refuge during times of grieving. The center provides meditation spaces, individual and group counseling rooms, a hotel for overnight stay, and gallery where artists can come to address the community. Formally the structure appears to be reaching and stretching skyward, potentially expressing how those within and are longing and reaching for those they have lost.

In his written work, The Stones of Venice, John Ruskin describes the nature of gothic architecture and its key characteristics which include: savageness, changefulness, naturalism, grotesqueness, rigidity, and redundance. According to Ruskin these are the elements of Gothic architecture which make it successful.The Bereavement Center draws from these characteristics and in doing so, strives to develop the beauty that emerges from roughness, variation, and aggregation.

The nesting system and program ideas for the Center also relate to the notions of roughness and changefulness which Ruskin describes. The Bereavement Center project similarly works to incorporate roughness not only on the level of the system, but also in how it relates to man and his environment.

Ruskin’s changefulness inherently manifests in how birds adapt their nest configuration to their specific environment and likewise the nested skin adapts continuously to its various solar orientations. Therefore, the Bereavement Center not only embraces roughness and changefulness formally, but also provides a place where people are can show their fragility, imperfections, and weaknesses.”
                                                                             – Rachel Dickey 

All Images and Text via www.racheldickey.com

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