School of Metaphysics

Iowa State University | 2017 | Studio

This 5th year studio project expands upon the process of understanding material and immaterial. The given site on Governor’s island, NYC is surrounded by well known symbols of American and/or urban ideals that could be considered indexical.

According to Rosalind Krauss, an index can be defined as “that type of sign which arises as the physical manifestation of a cause, of which traces, imprints, and clues are examples.”  The iconic nature of the skyline surrounding Governor’s island provides an indexical context to situate oneself to carefully study the boundary between the physical and metaphysical by creating a unique atmospheric condition through the process of monumentally disrupted and redefined progression. 

The program is comprised of three main parts (from north to south): the auditorium, the classroom building, and the meditation space. Each of which is placed specifically to separate types of learning, while  creating a sense of displacement throughout the site.

We were encouraged to make a series of concept drawings by hand, then be able to produce a code-compliant proposal in the span of a few weeks. We needed to be able to make something provocative, yet rapidly iterative, so we created a couple of sketches   that   we quickly watercolored, scanned, photoshopped to size, and printed full scale on sheets of Strathmore. This process allowed us to make high quality drawings quickly and accurately, and served as a platform to create a series of immaterial architectural documents for our final product. 

Each of the main program elements is a study of immaterial  function and perception. The ellipsoid meditation space behaves as a massive camera obscura, being only lit inside by ghostly pinhole images of the surrounding urban landscape and Liberty Island. The classroom spaces are situated high above sea level, in between two monumental walls that creates a frame view of the Statue of Liberty from above, and the sound of waves reverberating in the concrete chasm. 

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This project was done collaboratively with Joseph Kastner and Nicole Harrison.