[EDGES: A Room with a View] Governors Island identity lies on its edge condition. Its greatest amenity is its continuous promenade, a clean and uninterrupted view of the Manhattan skyline and surrounding burroughs. Governos Island is a void in which to behind the shape and marvel of Manhattan. Its edge is high real estate, a room with an expensive view.
[NONPLACE: The ephemeral qualities of traveling] The terminal, regardless of transportation type, is experienced differently upon arrival or departure. Departure requires waiting, whereas Arrival focuses on finding the nearest exit. Both rituals treat the terminal as an empty container sitting between destinations: a bridge between two points. Anything within it is merely used for either distraction or wayfinding. An architecture of emptiness emerges from these set of qualities.
[SYNTHESIS] With these two ideas in mind, I propose a new edge for Governors Island. This new edge is situated in the north side of the island, between the historical icons of the island (Castle Williams, Fort Jay) and the spectacular view of Manhattan. This edge will form another degree of difference (an additional, visual layer) between Governors Island and Manhattan, segmenting the void while maintaining the main attraction of voyeurism. It aims to disrupt the edge and grant the island a sense of place beyond its relationship to Manhattan.
[STRUCTURE & INTENTION OF FORM] The terminal takes the form of a bridge --- not only as a means to connect the new edge to the old, but also as a means to visually disrupt the promenade, while keeping its continuity intact. Structurally, it is one, monolithic concrete plate, thickened and arched for support, with a light-weight, repeating steel structure which sits on top of it. This open-air “cage” supports only itself, and is made of painted, welded steel tube frames, which are striated by steel cables, anchored to the perimeter of the bridge, and wrapped around. This “ghostly” form of unconditioned space, and provides the shape of the terminal, and sets the stage for the program within it. It is porous, yet clearly defined.
[COLLAPSING THE EDGE] Governors Island is an edge to hold the object of Manhattan. Hugh Ferris's paintings depict monumental voids and volumes- the visual language of Manhattan. The ferry terminal aims to interrupt this edge.
Version 1: [DELAMINATION] First iteration involved peeling the edge to present a fork in the road- the original promenade and the new. The Ferry Terminal would sit between these.
Version 2: [ISLANDS] To allow for more ferry or boat traffitc, the delamination was deleted.
Gulf Coast Film Archive
“What I propose as the contemporary project of architecture is an architecture that frames, rather than an architecture of mere visual appearance.” Pier Vittorio Aureli
In year 2011, Houston Advanced Research Center’s Global Commons Project (a collaborative venture with the National Academy of Sciences and the World Resources Institute) receives extra funding from local oil and energy companies, NASA, and the City of Houston as well as various international associations to establish the Global Commons Institute and announces a design competition for the building of a Mundaneum for the Institute in downtown Houston. Students will work on design proposals for this competition. The Global Commons (Antarctica, the high seas and deep seabed minerals, the atmosphere, and space) includes those parts of the earth’s surface beyond national jurisdictions. Mundaneum will not only provide a museum and a library for the Institute, it will also accommodate other public programs and establish wider interactions with the city. While each project will propose certain programmatic organization for the Mundaneum, the project will be an opportunity to consider new definitions between ideas of instrumentality, monumentality, infrastructure and form in the city.
Le Corbusier’s spiral museums studies (where the word “Mundaneum” was born) and OMA’s Seattle Public Library are the spiritual and philosophical formal precedents for the Mundaneum. Both of these projects emphasize the program’s need for uninterrupted continuity and expansion. Human knowledge has a beginning, no end, countless futures, and incomplete research in between. Public libraries grow and accumulate thousands of additional books annually, all which must be incorporated into a preexisting filing system. The management of these growing collections could be diagramed in the form of a spiral , which can “accordion” to accommodate new entries, new data, more tomes. Keeping the Mundaneum strongly linked to this architectural and philosophical lineage, was key to this project from its inception. Formally, the institute is an extruded, spiraled frame three city-blocks long. Rather than monumentalize the object (unique objects for consumption), it is the void of the frame which fulfills the roll of the monument. It is introspective, insulative, empty with possibilities, and voyeuristic in nature.
Situated between commercial, single-use colossi (Minute Maid Park, George R. Brown Convention Center, Toyota Center), clogged highways (I-59), and currently underused voids (Discovery Park, parking lots) the Mundaneum must both compete with its large-scale neighbors while simultaneously engaging the more residential, public, and recreational programs east of downtown. These engagements are expressed both programmatically and formally: Programmatically, the Mundaneum offers public workshops, classes, conferences, and other academic tracts. Formally, the Mundeneum is transparent, containing within it a public courtyard with easy accessible from Discovery Park and adjacent areas.
With 300 foot, downtown giants nearby, the Mundaneum’s relatively humble presence is granted the opportunity to differentiate itself on the map. Frampton’s piece titled “Megaform as Urban Landscape” gives insight on this issue, stating that a megaform’s power is accentuated and facilitated by today’s dependency on GPS based systems. Navigating through cities have gone beyond just muscle and visual memory, and have moved on to transposing real-time information via portable devices onto real-life experience. The memory and image of the city manifests itself in two dimensions: the real, and the cyber. Thus, the Mundeneum’s presence would not only be evident from its adjacent streets, but also from the JP Morgan Chase Tower and from your very own computer. The frame, and its clearly delineated void, stands as a strong, stand-alone image for all to visually consume.
The battle between image and form has long been part of our curriculum. Aureli’s piece on secular monumentality perfectly concludes the difference between these two. Where as a form deals with emphasizing and refining boundaries, in framing, and re-contextualising, an image merely collapse the architecture into a ‘two dimentional silhousette.’ “[The] form” he says, “on the contrary liberates architecture from its image, by spatially and conceptually addressing the conditions and the singularity of the event, place, situation that it frames.”
Exaggerated site plan of Houston downtown and the 4 monsters: Toyota Center, the George R. Brown Convention Center, the Minute Maid Stadium, and the Mundeneum.
These giants require a lot of parking. So does downtown. Though parking garages are common, many surface parking lots remain creating dull, programless voids.
The language of frames grew from site analysis. Houston downtown functions as on-off functions: the stadiums and convention centers are only "on" during events, similarly to downtown, which is open in the event of 9am to 5pm work. They create a large empty frame, inside and out: a Monday evening would be a completely dead swath of the city.
Plans and Sections
The void within the Mundaneum momentarily acts not only as a grand courtyard, but as also as an extension of Discovery Park, which is a few blocks away. As time moves on in the cultural city of Houston, the Mundaneum can expand inward: it can construct its campus within itself, with the core of human knowledge, the library, as the shell.
Access & Circulation
Houston is still a city of cars. Accepting this reality, the Mundaneum provides underground parking at its anchor where "destination" programs reside: auditorium, classrooms, reading room and study areas, restaurant/cafe and conference center. The book spiral starts at this anchor.
Town Hall Seattle
Invited competition for re imagining Town Hall in Seattle, WA. Design by Rick Sundberg, John Kennedy, and Gladys Ly-Au Young. Illustrations and diagrams by me.
Kirkland, WA Sundberg Kennedy Ly-Au Young Feasibility Study | SD | DD | CD | FF&E
The Kingsgate Library project transforms a 1970s-era building into a warm and lightfilled 21st century community gathering space that more appropriately reflects and supports the current needs of its patrons. The design goals include a new entrance, a stronger connection to its natural, wooded setting, and introducing more natural light into the community room and library.
Our firm is working closely with the City of Kirkland, King County Library System, Friends of Kingsgate Library, and various neighborhood groups to assess needs, wants, and dreams for this project. This building’s technological, energy, HVAC, seismic, and other systems will also be updated to meet or exceed today’s codes, thereby ensuring energy efficiency and an environmentally friendly footprint.
Seattle, WA Sundberg Kennedy Ly-Au Young Architects MUP | SD | DD | CD
This project for Westside School transforms a 1970s church facility in the Arbor Heights neighborhood of West Seattle into a new independent school, containing grades K-8. The design challenge was to preserve and adapt the soaring glulam arches of the existing nave and gym spaces while connecting them with a new entry foyer so these two seemingly separate spaces could function as a singular school. This project reconfigures 35,000 sf of existing space, creating new classrooms, offices, support, lunchroom and storage space while maintaining the existing gym. An additional 20,000 sf of new space was added to the existing building, including an additional floor of classrooms inserted into the almost 45-foot tall nave, to reflect the school’s long-term vision and goals.
I used to live right next to the Appalachian Trial. During the warm months, hikers would get into town and would be temporary denizens of small town New Hampshire. I often would imagine their lives on the trial.
At the time I only had a bright red rickety laptop with an ancient cracked Adobe Suite cs2 that I had downloaded as a teenager. Kind of regret not drawing more whimsy while unemployed.
This page is dedicated to the colorful whimsy of my spare time.
Gift for a friend based on his tweets. Vector
The Drowning of Bellevue
Gift to a friend based on his tweets. Vector
Sometimes soft colors and reds hit the spot. Vector
"Soy araña" means "I'm a spider" in Spanish. They knit webs, thus it was nickname aquired in my youth. My mother would ask what the spider was knitting. I've been knitting since the age of 16. A decade later I have unfinished, unraveled, and undone pieces scattered in my living quarters. The ones I have finished are one-of-a-kind, done in a handful of sittings on an improvised pattern. This is my meditation, a spider knitting her web, a witch knitting her spells.