PROGRAM: Design Incubator/ Academic Lab
STATUS: Conceptual Design
CONTEXT: Harvard GSD M.Arch. Thesis
The academy has surely earned its reputation as the ivory tower since its policies of exclusion are not only related to their admissions procedures but are also related to their quads which are surrounded by walls and gates. Historically, this has resulted in a parallel architecture which comprises buildings which are set off from their contexts and are about the intersection of the vertical plane of the facade with the horizontal ground plane.
The relationship between the academy and the public begins with the agora and diverges into the academy and the public commons, each fulfilling its analogous model of architecture: the vertical wall and the flat plane, respectively.
The site is Harvard Square with a history of both commons and academy coexisting for generations. Program is divided into individual, collective and public realms and the project strives to integrate these conditions through 1) creating continuity through smoothing and 2) creating difference through introduction of the horizontal within the oblique, conditioning variations, destination conditions, and layering of transparency.
The resulting form expresses continuity and smoothness, and brings the commons to the interior of the experience without violating the privacy threshold of the academy.