MArch Studio III: Urban Development / Professor Joshua Taron / Fall 2016

The Cartesian grid has a wide ranging set of implications for architecture, however possibly the most dire is its ability to use the building for destroying curiosity at the urban and the building scale. Through the prescriptivity of the grid on architectural form, the urban scape forms infinitely self-reproducing formal conditions, such as the linear corridor relationship with the road.
This intervention aims to use the same grid against itself to reintroduce new conditions and curiosity back into the urban scape. Through the use of curvilinear geometry at various offsets of the existing grid, new corridors and relationships between streets and blocks can be created, as well as a new building-ground relationship on site.

A Formal Response to Urban Prescriptivity

This building is first and foremost a formal experiment to counter the rigid regularity and prescriptiveness of the urban grid. Using a subtractive view-based process, the formal articulations act to create converging and diverging lines across the structure, thus creating a field condition that minimizes tangible edges and constantly manipulates perspective.

The playful nature of this overscaled and dynamic form invokes curiosity and draws users in using unfamiliarity, rather than a hyper-accessible and familiar condition. The small ground-plane footprint and mixed below/above-grade entrances attempt to disorient users from experiences in typical architectures.


New Concepts of Dynamic Space and Program

By subtracting away spaces at the ground-plane level for multiple approach-angles, the Museum Obscurum creates an activated outdoor profile that rejects the typical sidewalk-street relationship. The sheltered external media walls and auditoriums create potential for outdoor program in a climate where buildings are traditionally purely internalized, and the small ground floor footprint teases users and entices them up towards the top-floor museum spaces within.

The museum spaces and interior circulation themselves extend the formal logic of the exterior into an interior condition where edges never truly terminate and walls are never true ends. The curvilinear, blank concrete walls act as blank canvasses for projected museum exhibits of varying themes, which pair with the geometry to produce different spatial experiences every time.

Digital-Age Analog Material Performance

Using solely concrete formwork facilitates production of a monolithic, yet self-articulating architecture where edges flow into one another and scales change from different viewing perspectives.

Rather than material differentiation, this project utilizes digital techniques to articulate space and experience. The program employs digital projection technology in partnership with the blank walls to produce ever-changing museum exhibits that also blend with the flowing and disorienting space to produce an immersive and ever-changing experience.