Centering a Town: 22nd. Effort/Under Construction

Structured, orderly, regular, and, but for the corners, symmetrical. The building explains itself in a few terms quickly grasped. The theme is Under Construction because the building retains the scaffolding that presumably was used in stages of its construction.

Although really their use is contained and their placement carefully planned. They are integrated into a completed structure and obviously intended to be permanent. Another possibility is a design that more resembles a building frozen in the process of its construction, incomplete and fragmented, that challenges itself, asks for completion or demolition—a temptation, though I don’t know if that could be done without invoking postmodern slapstick and irony.

The scaffolding pieces add decorum, and, in their openness, involvement, and tensions, provide a modern substitute for columns. The building has the look, in fact, of a Greek temple. The columns give energy to an otherwise static design, as well as add a note of modernness and technology. And since they support the ledges above the second floor and the roof and strengthen the largely glass walls, they are functional, not decorative. This is a building that speaks function, though that function is exaggerated, and with modern materials and techniques they aren’t needed.

Rear. The large brick piers not only solve the corner problem in a large way but also highlight the significance of the corners and give the building a monumental cast.

Rear corner.

And as in other designs, the structure of a suspension bridge—the St. Johns Bridge two blocks away—is suggested.

Side. Program the same or similar as that of other designs. A clear distinction is made between the lower two floors for communal activity and exhibition and the classrooms on the third and fourth floors. The lower area is largely open and be divided in many ways, in fact could accommodate changing arrangements.

Front corner, on the plaza.

Front. The left pier marks the corner on the plaza, a place of pause and significance. The right side is left open, suggesting continuity with the line of buildings next to it. At the corner of intersecting major streets, this building is the end piece of a line of downtown development.

The dark green strips beneath the third-floor windows represent planting, which helps relieve the regimented structure.

Background and Previous 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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