Centering a Town: 13th. Effort/Suspension II

See Centering a Town: 6th. Effort/Suspension for another variation of this theme. Again, the desire is to complement the St. Johns Bridge, the defining landmark for St. Johns, with analogous construction. Two piers are bent around the building to support a narrow band and the grid that contains the upper floors.

From the rear of the upper floors there will be an excellent view of the bridge, only a block away.

Program is the similar to that of the other efforts, exhibition/civic on the first floor beneath classrooms for a satellite college.

Plan for the top three floors, four classrooms with stairs in the middle. To the left, the gray area, an open light well that extends all four floors and could be topped with a skylight on the roof that covers the open stairs as well. Grid elements could be repeated in the skylight and interior to reinforce the notion of its structure.

Rear view.

Rear corner, what will be seen by those exiting the bridge and approaching the downtown area.

I first considered making the piers narrow, like the bridge towers, and picking up the pattern of the descending and ascending suspender cables in the upright members of the grid by using different colors. But that would be false tension as well as make the comparison too obvious, perhaps too gimmicky. This is a building, not a bridge, and the wide brick piers show mass, giving it needed weight and solidity. Its function is to contain, not span a distance for transport. Metaphorically, the building presents the notion of uplifted structure for the communal efforts inside.

Side, along Philadelphia.

Imagine the grid elements are thinner and, to extend the reference, are a green similar to that of the bridge.

Front corner, on the plaza and at the center of the downtown area.

Front, along Lombard, the main street.

Other Designs

Other designs for this project, along with background material and more photographs of site, can be found here and at these posts.


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