Architecture As Interface // This proposal for a health-centric urban community center sited on the south side of Chicago addresses the current influence of internet-based media, services and devices and proposes an architectural response I call interface. Expedience of information/communication has yielded a collapse in distance between people and services while at the same time we have instant access to social and economic resources with minimal physical interaction. And if we consider that these virtual communities that make up this new speed of living are the new venues of communication, interaction and exchange, then there are two outcomes:
1. Work and play become location-independent
2. Community can be delivered to the individual both of which can be addressed by spatial and programmatic strategies that encourage congregation and mixture of otherwise physically-disparate individuals and groups.
The community center promotes wellness as a social activity by aggregating social condensers (cores, shared/access strategies) - shared space and mixed program generate a dynamic coexistence of activities intended to physically gather and collide the disparate masses.
Collapsing space and program via a mat-building approach sets up these mixed-interactions. Space is generated through a carpeting of similar forms that make up both built area and earth-shelters and small hills (which I call parkscape), and program is distributed throughout the carpet by a non-hierarchical buckshot model which is controlled by further interior articulation. The bottom three diagrams depict (relationships and behavior of) built area, program and parkscape as types of merging gradients or sets of interrelated parts with internal variation working for overall coherence as a homogeneous field.
Mat-building can be said to epitomise the anonymous collective, where the functions come to enrich the fabric, and the individual gains new freedoms of action through a new and shuffled order, based on interconnection, close-knit patterns of association, and possibilities for growth, diminution and change. Allison Smithson
Site core samples best illustrate the parts that make up interface as types of immersive access or degrees of publicity. These highlight architectural situations where space is multi-programmatic or programs are openly adjacent. By conveying interface as different forms of access it gives a sense of not only movement from space to space or program to program but also movement between various realms of publicity.
1. Shared access: One continuous activity space through which people can move to go somewhere else
2. Semi-public access: Space and program within audible/visual range but physically out of reach
3. Direct access: Moving from one space/program to another by immediate adjacency
4. Indirect access: Moving to one program requires moving through another program/space
Similarly, the perspectives depict interior-exterior thresholds displaying a multiplicity of activity that's spatially or visually shared in a single frame.
In sum, the interface serves as a method for generating interference and moments of surprise or spontaneity between users of different programs while encouraging a shared/social approach to wellness through multi-functional space and programmatic adjacencies. It is an attempt to translate digital relationships involving sharing into spatial experiences as well as an attempt to reclaim attention and awareness in an age of distraction by creating distraction via collisions.
Futurist, Sant'Elian Expedience
Using the technology of an era of rapid, almost instantaneous information exchange, architecture is slow to react and must therefore be equally as spontaneous to accommodate spontaneity. Architecture was seen as the combination of spaces, events, and movements without any hierarchy or precedence among these concepts… [a way of attempting to generate] non-hierarchical relationships, program, and an unlikely combination of events. Tschumi
...Programmatic layering upon vacant terrain to encourage dynamic coexistence of activities and to generate through their interference, unprecedented events. Koolhaas, Content
It is the generation of spontaneous events and interactions taking place between different users and groups that this wellness center would encourage as a physical analogue to digital socialization.
I see the proposal as trying to mitigate the contradiction of internet socializing; i.e. physical distance yet greater communicative openness - the tendency to be more transparent (open) when you're behind a screen because there's the lack of the immediate threat of physical harm or anxiety. This proposal intends to bring back that face-to-face tension that can occur by mixing different groups.
Arch 554, Architectural Design IV: Urbanism