Layers are indices of complexity and time. They can conceal a truth or elicit multitudinous responses. The project, a performing arts center with low-income and artist housing above, attempts to reckon with layers of typological, topographical, programmatic, contextual, and architectonic references to develop a complex whole. Topography provides constraints and establishes points of departure; mixed programs create implicit relationships and hierarchies for users; thresholds and colonnades examine how tenants and passersby engage with the project; embodied material and formal associations offer touchstones for understanding its social and temporal context; visual and experiential information provide embedded understanding of the origin of forms and the inner life of the building.
A peristyle along the eastern edge of the site opens onto two distinct public plazas and offers public entrance into the performance facilities. Below, practice and training spaces are linked to dedicated venues for performances by a series of promenades and observation points for the public to engage with all parts of a performance artist’s process. The housing block recalls the courtyard complex typology such as the nearby Dunbar Apartments, and row houses along Astor Row. A private entrance off Hamilton Terrace takes residents to a verdant courtyard with direct unit access. The project presents many faces to its users and occupants. Its formal and experiential character subdues hierarchy in favor of a dignified presence that fosters democracy, idiosyncrasy, and appropriation.
Hannah Frossard, Hannah Ivancie, Max Mahaffey