Pastiche | The Conflated Ideals

Xuanyi Nie (website) Research/Anaylsis with Ali Karimi (website), Adelene TanAlex Timmer
Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Option Studio
Brief: Reimagining Gowanus (Brooklyn New York City) Development
Faculty: Florian Idenburg (website)


“Pastiche is intended as an aesthetic of quotations pushed to the limit; it is an incorporation of forms, an imitation of dead styles deprived of any satirical impulse.” The city is inherently a systems of competing needs and desires. The desire for individuality and density. The desire for efficiency and variation.

The city is at once insular and collective, slow and fast, fast and insular, and so on. Emergent systems of disorder and incongruous adjacencies define the experience of the city.

Catalogue for Urban Codes

The code seeks to produce this condition as a reaction against the monotony and uniformity of the current urban fabric, which creates creates dullness. 4 heterotopic cities, the insular, the collective, the fast, and the slow are realized at once on the site. The site is bordered and sectioned by several large flows, major roads, the subway, and the canal.

Urban Framework

New spaces, typologies, or circulations emerge based on the rules that govern each city and the variable juxtapositions. We understand urbanism as a dialogue between these four city types and there conflation within each block. The result is rather a bounding box defined through the meticulous codes, within which buildings can vary in their formal expressions.

Urban Quadrant

Urban quadrant is the extracted segment of the urban framework that was articulated. Different buildings with their formal and programmatic possibilities emerge within the defined system, and this one is one among the possibilities. Eventually the result is not a rigorously defined condition, but rather the probabilistic yet with rationale can be traced to its genesis. The city is defined by these relationships at the scale of the individual to the individual and the scale of the individual to the urban fabric.

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