Van Alen Institute
New York, NY

The new home of Van Alen Institute has to be many things at once. It requires curatorial flexibility for a breadth of public programming including exhibitions, lectures, reading groups, and book launches; a comfortable and efficient office environment for different scales and modes of work ranging from formal to casual; a framework that can grow to include the second floor and basement as the institution expands in the future; and a mobile street seat that brings Van Alen Institute’s mission into the urban realm. To accommodate this range of possibilities within a limited square footage, we proposed a Screen Play; a mechanism to order these spatial, curatorial, and temporal scenarios through a subtle interplay of surfaces that creates a complex and ambiguous presence in the city.

Mirror Mirror
MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program Finalist

Mirror Mirror explores the institutional definition of PS1 through the triangular figure of its courtyard, proposing the mutual reflection of this space and the city through a billowing roof surface and the redefinition of its perimeter wall as an urban mirror. The edges of the triangular courtyard are lifted to make its space visible as an urban figure, then used as the frame from which a shimmering surface of mirror tiles is draped. The tile pattern ranges from fully mirrored at its edges to a halo-like void at its lowest point, dissolving this collective accumulation of tiles to create space for a singular moment of contemplation at its center. A gravel mound lifts viewers above ground level for a direct view over the courtyard wall and accommodates tiered seating for events, while the surface of the concrete wall is mirrored to double both mound and roof between courtyard and street. A colonnade of wood beams at the perimeter of the triangle houses a variety of hanging elements for cooling and play, including mist, showers, buoys, and swings. Through a crowdsourced campaign each mirror tile is customized with an inscription of 140 characters, investing participants in the collective form of the billow and creating a memento through 17,000 personal mirrors sent to contributors after the closing of the pavilion. At night, spotlights turn the field of mirrors into a glittering backdrop for the Warmup party and other PS1 events.

The Plinth, The Hall, and The Square
A Proposal for Guggenheim Helsinki

A new Guggenheim in Helsinki should be, above all, of and for the city. We propose an archaeological approach to the museum as an urban space: a large plinth in which gallery spaces are concentrated, excavated from above and sheltered by a roof to create The Hall, an open public platform from which the contents of the museum are revealed below. The largest of these excavations forms the iconic urban space at the center of the Guggenheim Helsinki: The Square, a perfect cube cut equally into the plinth below and the roof above. Hovering above The Hall, a cloud-like roof provides an open scaffolding for the contents of the museum within. Its structure provides a dense space frame for hanging large artworks in The Square, while its volume acts as an arch that diffuses these loads onto the field of columns that fills The Hall.