Manhattan Motel

Seth Barnard (website)
The Cooper Union
Second Year Design Studio
Faculty: Guido Zuliani, Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa (website)


Manhattan is a city of pedestrian perception. Yet outside the island, outdoor space is largely perceived via automobile. Many of these transients enter the city through the Queens Midtown Tunnel. Before driving through the tunnel, the image of the city is a postcard: billboards are superimposed over a vast skyline of vertical skyscrapers, and the energy of the city is conglomerated into one image. After the tunnel surfaces onto Manhattan the postcard disappears, and a huge billboard presents itself as the initial image of Manhattan. The hotel transforms into a motel (motor hotel) which functions to shelter both human and automobile. There are two sides of the site: one facing the culmination of a highway and the other facing the beginning of a city. Each side has its own scales: time, size, sound, smell, and taste. The Manhattan Motel coalesces pedestrian perception and automobile perception in the “melting pot” of a pool (Central Park for the city) to bring locals and tourists together. The site becomes an oasis, functioning as a public pool and motel. The motel becomes the sieve through which two different perceptions flow.  


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