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03/30/2015

Interstitial | Compacted Exteriority

Xuanyi Nie (website)
Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Core Studio
Brief: Intervening Montreal city with a mix-program Highrise
Faculty: Maryann Thompson (website)
2013   

 

While the replication of urbanism and architecture has been criticized such as Guy Debord’s tracing of the development of modern society as being a mere representation and reduplication; the transient moment of history and its image have been overly absorbed by human perception through affection, allowing the commodity complete its colonization of social life. Everything should not just takes place ordinarily within ordinarity.

Site Relationship & Intervention Strategy

The site is located in the heart of Montreal, being surrounded by active buildings. Its proximity to multiple means of traffic renders the site even more active, with people permeating the land. Thus the external conditions embed the site with a ‘figure-ground’ property, but with events being held.

Formal Reciprocity

Thus the mass is interpolated with the figure that detaches itself from the ground, allowing the land retain its property of hosting permeation in this figure-ground dialectics, while dissipating the form of the inner void as the exterior. Thus the interstitial assumes a new function that is no longer lies flat between the exterior and interior. The concept of interstitial is here to broach a new condition: the interstitial as a static
interval was held together through a rhetoric of reading. As Deleuze says, it is no longer the material structure that curls around the contour in order to develop the figure; it is rather the figure that wants to pass through the contour in order to dissipate into the material structure.

Compacted Exteriority

Thus the mass is interpolated with the figure that detaches itself from the ground, allowing the land retain its property of hosting permeation in this figure-ground dialectics, while dissipating the form of the inner void as the exterior. Thus the interstitial assumes a new function that is no longer lies flat between the exterior and interior. Simultaneously this creates a new condition, singular yet at the same time embracing the totality of the urbanism.

The reciprocal condition is that the carved out void also forms what is read as the central atrium that encompasses the interiority. Hence the exteriority is compacted to the interior in this shift of concepts. The inner void allows south-facing sun penetrate through, enabling the street front with sunlight that is not accessible with normal highrise.

The form, Aside with its vertical sequence, is twisted around the central void with the required volume of each individual program box refining the figure. As a result, the building introverts the exteriority through the void, inviting public to the compacted exteriority of the inside, allowing the permeating performance. Meanwhile the singular gesture differentiating itself from the rest but at the same time necessarily encompassing the urban totality.

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