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Interaction and Memory - Essay Example

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Hyon Woo(Scott), Chung Metropolis Assignment #1 INTERACTION AND MEMORY It is a continuing tragedy to see the drab boxes of buildings rise, lining the streets of New York with their for-profit excuses for existence. They often block and crowd out the elegance and graceful functionality and dignity, which come with the glorious old buildings that, for us, serve as monuments that tell the history of the city and also express the visions of those great minds that have shaped our beautiful public spaces…
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"Interaction and Memory"

Download file to see previous pages An excellent case is the New Cooper Union Building at 41 Cooper Square. Designed and completed back in 2009 by Thom Mayne, it promises to be one of the more popular landmarks of New York with its striking design and well-thought concept. Seen from afar, say from the Cooper Triangle Park, the New Cooper Union Academic Building poses a stark contrast to the old buildings and some forgettable edifices within the vicinity. One will be immediately arrested with its modern design, characterized by sleek and shiny glass materials that declare "contemporary" and the "future" in bold letters while depicting a seemingly humungous art element straight out of a Picasso canvas. The overall impression is a forward-looking, solid and imposing structure that is also a point of convergence and a mecca for creative thinking – all at the same time. Indeed, Mayne emphasized that "the building is conceived as a vehicle to foster collaboration and cross-disciplinary dialogue among the college’s three schools, previously housed in separate buildings." (p. 96) In this respect, it appears that the building designer achieved his objective triumphantly, at least in the battle for perceptions. As an academic structure it successfully integrated the crucial functional elements with the aesthetic and most things in between in order to establish a conducive environment for learning with the limited resources (i.e. space) it has in its disposal. A fundamental characteristic of the building is the breaking of the hierarchy of circulation into a burst of open spaces that serve different purposes. There is the vertical circulation concept in addition to the spaces for different functions designed so that people can move through and interact with lectures and perform other social/learning activity that could change into a different experience once one transfers into another space or meet another or hold a different conversation. The key concept in the design is space. This is the element that holds all the other design considerations together such as the desire to enhance learning, the attempt at achieving freedom, collaboration and interaction. From the outside the view is welcoming because it communicates a degree of openness that comes with the visual transparencies and the accessibility of the building to visitors or those outside. A passerby, for instance, will have no difficulty or reservations entering since the entrance and the entire ground floor is seemingly connected to the external environs such as the street and the community it is in. “The facade registers the iconic, curving profile of the central atrium as a glazed figure that appears to the carved out of the 3rd Avenue facade, connecting the creative and social heart of the building to the street. “[Architecture and Urbanism 2010 page 96] Then the glass materials allow the exposure of the activities inside to those from without especially in the ground level Once inside, there is then the vertical 20-foot grand staircase that connects all the four stories, functioning as the central atrium at the same time. Those students streaming out of their classrooms, their lectures, the library, and from wherever else within, converge at this atrium/staircase. This is fundamental why ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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