From Material to Partial Urbanism
Far West Village, New York City

Traditionally you define a building program and produce a form and indicate materials and construction.  This project attempted a reverse process.  First, a material and an action was chosen and a concept was joined. Then a site (in the Far West Village) was studied and a building program was defined.

1. Selection of Material: Wood,  Selection of Action: Lamination

The investigation of the material wood brought on concepts of flexibility, motion, and sound.  By remaining aware of the woods' end-grain, edge-grain when laminated in tension, the wood was flexible enough that as pressure was applied, it created various sounds.  The containment of these sounds became very important issue, as well as the preservation of the materials texture, and connections. To contain these sounds a new material was needed to act as a resonating chamber.  This new material  was concrete.  In order to continue studying  the role of the wood a method of pouring the concrete into wood laminated forms was the second part of the study. 

2. Selection of Material: Wood and Concrete, Selection of Action: Laminating, Pouring = Bulging

The wood now when laminated was used as a mold for concrete and allowed for a different flexibility in the forming of the concrete.  A flexibility that allowed the wood to deform and the concrete to bulge into form.  Again the purpose of the concrete was for it to act as resonating chamber for the sounds the wood pieces originally studied created; and to act as part of the main structure of the building.  Some of the wood, used to form the concrete, was then reused, displaced, and eventually connected to the concrete to form the visual tension the two materials create.

3. Selection of Material: Wood and Concrete, Selection of Action: Connecting  -
to form a visual tension.

The concept of this visual tension the two materials created, both in plan and section added to the dynamics, and sound of the wood.  The idea of the concrete as resonating chamber brought program to the site, where the final product is a music center for the school and its community. The  three step process of materials and actions developed as a need to further explore the result of the action of laminating.

These ideas in conjunction with ideas of Perspectival Space completed this study and positioned the program pieces on the site. Our experience of a city is always perspectival or incomplete.  The actual experience consists of partial views. The partial views created here respond to the material, the action, and the city.