Page 1

Artur Dabrowski PORTFOLIO

2008 — 2015

Within our profession there is a long tradition of architects who travel and rediscover the built environment. Experiencing, observing, and drawing as part of a larger conversation, spanning generations of thought. ...

Harris Hall at The City College of New York. (left)

My first facade drawing. I sat on a concrete lip at Howard Street in SoHo. And decided to draw, without aim.

Ornamental building reused as storage warehouse. West 135th street and Broadway, Harlem. (below)

FACADE STUDIES 2010, Independent. This side project was started to develop two interests of mine. One is the understanding of facades, the veneer of our urban fabric. The second is a push for continuing to explore hand-drawn techniques with a higher level of sophistication in detailing and conceptually. This collection of drawings were drawn onsite around various neighborhoods in New York City using only a circle template and 0.20mm Micron ink pens on a 5� x 8� sketch paper Moleskine notebook.

Residential. East 7th street, Cooper Square. (above)

Staircase interior section at the 42nd Street Public Library. (below)

89 Broome & Crosby street, SoHo. (above)

Earl Hall, Columbia University Campus. (right)

405 Central Park West.

Church of Our Lady of Lourdes at 142nd Convent avenue, Harlem. (right) The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Avenue. (below)

The Irwin S. Chanin Cooper Union School of Architecture, Cooper Square. (above)

Atrium section at The Bernard & Anne Spitzer School of Architecture.

In studio I began to mak buildings like this: I would invent a ruin. THEN intervene on it.

I would d and it

MOLESKINE JOURNAL. Drawings made in waiting rooms and subway rides. Mircron Ink on Moleskine Paper.


design the ruin ts intervention


Building a ruin from ground up.

2010, Third Year Undergraduate. Prof. Elisabetta Terragni

TWO TOWNHOUSES The initial intent of this design was to act as the negotiator between the existing urban fabric and a newly proposed housing community to be implemented on an industrial site nearby the polluted Gowanus Canal. With the construction of the Smith 9th viaduct, these communities have been detached, creating a rift in the urban fabric. To remediate the community, the design proposed to mimic the townhouses across the street in both facade and footage while striving to reinvent the typology on

the interior using courtyards and alleyways. Furthermore, the ground floor of the corner lot became dedicated storefront space to promote public activity on the site. The actual design of the two units originated with the placement of the stark white “Modernist� wall, which not only served as a party wall to separate the houses but also as an artifact to design around. To contrast with this dense concrete wall, the interior predicated the use of structural brick (load bearing walls and arches) with wooden joists that rest on the recesses of the brick wall. These arches came to represent a series of fragmented interior facades that came to become a highly tectonic language and a sensual timelessness to the architecture.

TECTONICS. Sketches configuring alternate construction methods that would allow platforms to rest on the brick arches through interlocking.

SITE MODEL (RIGHT). Chipboard model with spray painted accent pieces. The townhouse is meant to imitate the neighbor across the viaduct but internally be a completely different beast.. QUARTER SCALE MODEL (BELOW). Basswood and painted chipboard to match. Part of the model is left incomplete to show the tectonics involved between

Mapping the edges of the city.

2011. Third Year Undergraduate. Prof. Adam T Hayes

VERNACULAR MAPPING To understand the vernacular is to exercise a critical eye for the existing urban fabric, both socially and aesthetically. The mapping exercise documented the multitudes of urban programming into a small set of categories which further demarcated its facade, the epitome of the edge condition. An edge

is the coexistence of both the interior and exterior condition; the interior expresses itself either functional or hierarchically while the exterior interacts and suggests. Whereas maps focus on the volumetric view of the city, this map focuses on the human perspective. What the pedestrian views is not a mass but a two dimensional image exploded. The edge is a mode of communication to the pedestrian. To design in the neighborhood is to understand edge conditions and provide a building that can linguistically relate and promote the vernacular. AXONOMETRIC. Drawing made from 2d linework, with graphite layering. Each building was surveyed in preparation of this drawing.

Hard edge — fragment objects ARTISAN CITADEL 2011, Third Year Undergraduate. Prof. Adam T Hayes POSTINDUSTRIAL GOWANUS AS the postindustrial culture embraces the digital apparatus, architecture is caught in a paradox between physical and metaphysical space. Architecture, the forum in which our ancestors congregated and conversed, is being outsourced to a realm that is intangible

as well as absent of any experiential value. Digitalization has freed us from the factories.. freed us from other spaces we are bound to inhabit. This digital component of our lives is an infinite construct that makes the value of architectural program obsolete. A library can be replaced by a server. An office can be replaced by a cloud network. As long as you are plugged in, you are free to live in a cave and still be socially relevant.

PLAN WITH LAYERED SECTION CUTS (CENTER). Drawing was produced via 2d linework and superimposing hand drawn sketches linework to make legible parts that were ruin and of nature.

ARCHITECTURE IS DEAD? We are slaves bound to a screen, hopelessly clicking buttons. Indeed a great step for mankind from pushing gears and pulling levers. This new interface has organized our lives to a shallow ignorance of a true world that we have the potential to live in. Every aspect of human life is slowly being collapsed into a flat apparatus incapable of tactile experience. Only architecture can promise a sensitivity to move the human mind and the human body. It is in these four walls that exist a reconcilement of both the physical and metaphysical worlds. It is a meta-structure, capable of readapting

itself to the needs of human individuals.. = of providing a metaphysical connection that is timeless. If digitalization is freeing architecture from permanent program, then let the architecture itself speak of permanence and let transience flow through it. And let nature reclaim itself. Let the weeds grow from the cracks of concrete. Let the sky be unadorned by atrocious mirrors. Let the urban fabric bleed seamlessly into nature. Let architecture... let the architect return to its former glory.

THE RUIN The building, a self proclaimed ruin, is a artisan institution housed within four thick brick walls whose arches gradually complete themselves along the slope of the terrain. The program is similar to Bushwick’s 3rd Ward, an artisan collective that teaches and collaborates on efforts primarily through the hand. This low-rise structure is a modest approach to addressing the vernacular language, emphasizing the ruined state of postindustrial factories in the neighborhood. The plan is broken into concurrent radial divisions and is embedded with courtyards that promote direct connections between landscape and architecture. Some of these conditions exist within the trusses of the viaducts as a means to appropriate postindustrial artifacts.

SITE MODEL Cardboard and chipboard model crafted out fabricated laser cut pieces and assembled. The site was spackle to create a seamless environment.



2011. Fourth Year Undergraduate Prof. Timothy Matthew Collins

SRO HOUSING COMMUNITY Elizabeth, New Jersey, is plagued by an urban disposition caused by the edge




condition created by the New Jersey Transit railway and the Elizabeth river canal. The busy historic commercial district to the East has been severed from the mundane suburban neighborhood to the west. In between lies a deserted urban condition of abandoned properties and shady parking




lots. To reconcile this disjuncture, an attempt must be made to redevelop the erst side, to create a urban condition that parallels that of the East. Only then can the “in-between� be developed successfully by future construction.

The design consists of a mass bordering the edges of the streets, an act guiding future urban conditions to sprawl. This move follows suite of an abandoned warehouse and small retail storefronts in the surrounding context. The building is




ELEVATION (ABOVE). 2d linework merged with hand drawing layered in. FINAL MODEL (BELOW). Built of chipboard, basswood, spackle, and baby’s breath. Parts of the model were dyed with Micron ink and the mass was painted in various tints layers of spraypaint in order to create a monolithic mass with a non-singular texture and color,

FINAL MODEL (LEFT). Built of chipboard, basswood, spackle, and baby’s breath. Parts of the model were dyed with Micron ink and the mass was painted in various tints layers of spraypaint in order to create a monolithic mass with a non-singular texture and color,

not a typical housing solution, as it merges the walk-up typology with courtyard living. The philosophy generating the design is two fold; creating a systematic structure acting as a ruin, and intervening on my own creation. This exaggerated methodology of adaptive reuse allowed the modular to be manipulated with overt interventions. The courtyards, where all housing units faced, became extensions of the street. The communal space became integrated with

NOLLI PLAN inspired drawing created using vector linework and hand rendered background that was stitched together as layers.

the housing. The iconography of the housing, that is, the triangular arches of the stair core, were a poetic gesture of ascension, both the physical ascension of the stair and the social ascension provided by the singleroom-occupancy housing and its institution. Along the interior is a series of layers, where a glass curtain wall is receding from the brick facade, providing solar shading and balcony like conditions. This architectonic thusly emphasized the dual components of the

building at a reduced scale. “The Elizabeth�, a name appropriated for the comic relief of Gehry’s New York, establishes a false permanence in the neighborhood (as if the building has been there for decades) in order to promote a vernacular and urban language to sustain.

I beg to w with exist artif LATER...

gan work h ting facts,

feeding off their inspiration to create interventions that engaged the old and the new, and projected future realities.

Human sensory intervention. TO RECORD THE VESTIBULAR SENSE OF BALANCE AND MOTION 2009, Second Year Undergraduate. Prof. Antonio Furgiuele As an exercise to understand the idea of a site and how it governs the design process, we were asked to study a particular human sense and use the human body as a proposed site for a device that intervenes as a means to augment or distort an aspect of human sensory. The device worked with the vestibular sense, situated in the inner parts of the ear despite its lack of contextual relationship to the ear. As an intervention, my device connected the two together. I created a device that using the weight of fishing hooks to move pencils that recorded movement on the side of the device. The pencil, as it scratches the wood, allowed the user to “hear� the vestibular sense of motion, an almost torture if you may. The device also blinded the occupant as a response to the direct correlation of visual understanding of motion to perpetual understanding of motion. By blinding the eyes, motion can be interpreted as a acoustic understanding. As a challenge, the device featured no adhesive and relied on strings and interlocking joinery much like the tensile and compressive properties of the human body.

DEVICE. Basswood, copper piping, neoprene, string, pencils, and fishing weights were assembled using no fasteners.. The copper piping serves as a structural element for the basswood but also serves as a conduit for the strings. The strings, in addition to the mechanics of the object, also provide a means to hold the neoprene cushioning where the head rests.

Salvaged spaces beneath the steel viaduct 2012, Fourth Year Undergraduate. X Jamie Edindjiklian Prof. Fabian Llonch

CULINARY ARTS SCHOOL The two viaducts, as they stood since its creation, were built with a fortunate schism, a division breached by sunlight. For a continuous mile, the tar warmed below. Forsaken as a parking lot, the topography longed to share its warmth. And atop, perched among the canopies of steel grew small plants. Unbeknownst, the industrial product fostered a new culture. Here, the leaves, curling toward the skies, expressed its site’s desire for rejuvenation. It urged for the ballad of pans reverberating off stainless tables; not the automobiles hurdling by. It wanted the smells and taste of fresh pastries in the morning, not the odor of waste and gasoline. Let us introduce between these steel viaducts, a salvaged space... catered by the culinary arts.

As an experiment of urban fabric, we created a mindful yet innovative intervention under a strip of Manhattanville’s infrastructure; a reclamation and celebration of the old steel, offset by the introduction and liveliness of new steel.

RENDERING. Produced using photography, 3d modeling, rendering and Photoshop. This is a view from Riverside Park looking underneath the viaducts.


RIVERSIDE FOOD MECCA Manhattanville is a hidden world of New York City, concealed under elevated train arches, and sheltered between the Hudson River and Harlem proper. Much of the neighborhood has seen an upswing in occupancy by food establishments: new restaurants and the Fairway market. The site is appropriate for school of culinary arts and its construction would complete the site’s identity as a food mecca. As of now, plans are underway for Columbia University’s expansion project. Our property, Fairway’s parking lot between Marginal Street and Twelfth Avenue, from West 130th Street to West 132nd Street will be divided. The open air portion will be supplemented for additional realtor development. The dim area beneath the viaducts will be brought to life with the infusion of our intervention. MODULARITY To understand our in situ, we composed a taxonomy of site context and program attributes that assigned architectonic moves to inform the composition of our project. With the use of steel, our geometric investigations became materialized. In occupying the area underneath the viaducts, a modular was crafted and delineated by the two existing column grids. The system allowed for individualization of program and a symbiotic relationship between each volume. Based on the framework of the taxonomy, each component allowed the modular to break, expand, contract, and sculpt itself for optimal use (light, ventilation, storage, movement). The result is a site-specific response that respects the existing infrastructure as artifacts. Circulation is residual space; an interplay of solid and void.

PLANS AND SECTIONS. Each drawing was 3d modeled and rendered, then layered underneath vector linework.

BACHELORS OF ARCHITECTURE THESIS *Awarded the Overall Best Thesis - 2013, The Bernard and Spitzer School of Architecture

A kinesthetic intervention of THE BROOKLYN TOBACCO WAREHOUSE 2012-13, Thesis Year. Prof. Jeremy Edmiston A performative architecture of the seasons plugged in and sustained by the pulse of the machines. Our postindustrial lifestyle seeks to recreate the nature with the very machines that destroyed it. The sweat and blood stained on the wretched gears and levers marks the hell of industrial culture. This intervention seeks to cultivate and enrich machines for the paradise of industrial culture; the joy of discovery and the entertainment of motion.

Here a theatre, a program full of life, will be nestled in the shell of a decaying postindustrial ruin. The interplay and layering of materials allows the theatre to become an engine of life, highlighting the performative qualities of our being as well as our dependence on machines, these extensions of our body and mind.

MIXED MEDIA. Photograph of final model digitally manipulated with hand drawn sketch work layered within.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RUIN A writing concerning the architecture of the Brooklyn Tobacco Inspection Warehouse, and detailing how a new intervention should react to these concerns. In the Historic Fulton Ferry district we are presented with a civil war artifact, the remains of a five-story brick warehouse. After surviving a fire and two demolition attempts, the warehouse has been reduced to a two story brick shell with cast iron piercings. The former “wall of Brooklyn” has deteriorated. Ever since these recovery efforts took place, it has became a open public space, both a potential venue packed with people as well as a calm

and neighborhoods like Red hook and the Brooklyn Navy Yards. Because the anchor plate is merely to hold back a tie rod to reinforce structure, the end are purely decorative. Compared to the conventional star anchor plates used next door, the tobacco warehouse parades a four point star. This ornament exists as a distinct signature of the building. The insertion must be genuine to our industrial culture. Authenticity is the site’s remaining virtue. The solution should be an integrated method where the intervention builds off from the old to support its new infrastructure, while the new infrastructure supports the old damaged structure like a crutch. Because the historic structure is deteriorating, in order to save the artifact an intervention must be integrated to maintain the old construction as well as support new functions. To remove the intervention would result in the dismay of the ruin. The architecture and the artifact live off one another; a seamless relationship where both the new and old take hierarchy. OF ITS MATERIAL. The materiality of the artifact consists of brick, finished stone, cast iron, and concrete. The current quality is in a rustic manner. The brick is rough and discolored, its edges are chipped and uneven. The mortar flakes off like dust. At times the bricks have depth with recessed mortar, at others, the new light gray mortar meets flush to replaced bricks. Cracks are distinguishable. Walls visibly tilt forward or back. The recesses for the former wooden beams have been filled. The traces of previous use read like a story. Overall the bricks create a patchwork effect, resulting in a consistent yet rich palette of texture, coursing, and hue.

timeless environment. It is with great apologies that this space must be interrupted by a permanent installation. That being said, the virtue of the artifact is now in the hands of the architect, bearing the responsibility to perform a surgical intervention that enhances the existing significance while satisfying the new demand in both theatrical and cultural performance. The underlying question is the definition of this “significance”, whether physical or metaphysical. How should the intervention respond to each matter of importance. OF ITS LEGACY. The Tobacco Inspection Warehouse is no longer its height

The stonework placed at the rest of arches are chipped; its former finished surface has underwent a process of erosion from both mechanical and weathering abuse. The stone sills are rough around the edges, some removed completely. The cast iron is rusted, displaying orange discolorations that match the brick. Many of the cast iron gates are misplaced with its original steel doors absent. The gates show visible weathering, but are still operational. Former text painted in black, now faded. The concrete pour of the groundwork is damaged, revealing areas where old columns once rested. The pavement is a gradient from chipped to cracked, recent to old, creating another layer of patchwork that is an inconsistent language of random replacement and means of replacement. Doodads, both relic (two wood columns and concrete slabs) and device (preservation aids like wood frames for the arches and clamps in the walls) are embedded throughout the surfaces, blending in with the abandoned artifact. The forsaken quality is immediately perceived. The atmosphere of the space is unmistakably nostalgic. The material not only has a visual quality registering depth and composition, but also a haptic quality. To touch the wall is to experience the material in its highest form. To be surrounded in the material is to embody this substance in a spiritual way. If engagement is the highest form of flattery, the material will perform best by its exposition and its interaction, not just with people but with the new infrastructure that is attaching, embracing, or hovering in relation. Adaptive reuse salvages such high material potential that otherwise cannot be fabricated, or rather, made genuinely. To preserve the material, a process of restoration will occur to clean the faces of the bricks and its mortar while

nor its function. It is an empty shell with a name. That is its postindustrial legacy; a brand. OF ITS CONSTRUCTION. Craftwork typical to this period is out of our craftsmanship and contemporary practice. Arches are only suitable for load bearing masonry walls, a construction method deemed burdensome and old-fashioned. The brick shaped cast iron hinges are unique to its construction, resting within the load bearing structure to support custom made operable cast iron gates that fit precisely within the curvature of the arch. The star shaped cast iron anchor plates are also unique, and a stylistic element typical to East coast waterfront factories

ensuring its structural integrity beyond the architects control, with the aim of preservation to maintain the existing quality and sustain it for a long lifespan. The architect, in contrary, is in the interest of conservation; to take these existing material potential and activate it for the intervention. Contrast is one method. Dialogue is another. The new architecture will enhance the perception of the material, conserving its nostalgic properties, while simultaneously creating new vocabulary. Any false materials and false applications will devoid the integrity of the warehouse. OF ITS OPEN SPACE. The open space is one of the main attractions of the site. The boundless space allows for a multiplicity of use and unlimited flexibility, as defined by the boundary limits of the wall. The new infrastructure should provide all the necessary components for events to plug in. It must be said that the open space is a desirable condition for spring and summer seasons only. The intervention therefore can close itself during the autumn and winter as soon as weather starts to create a desolate environment. Therefore the architecture allows the warehouse to stay a vital cultural organ year long. Rather than the open space hibernate . OF ITS SKYWARD VIEW. The framed skyward view is nothing short of emancipating. This interior-exterior condition within an abandoned ruin sets a unique condition in both a park, waterfront, and urban neighborhood. This unique opportunity in the

city unfortunately cannot coincide with an indoor venue, particular a dark theatre space. However, it is important not to kill the framed view.

The concrete floor reveals traces of the column grid as

demarcated by the poured concrete lines. These lines help event organizers to distribute space in an even and orderly fashion. The new surface, whether flat or dynamic, should incorporate an system that reveals the new performance capabilities of the space, whether it is though patterning, scoring, or material variabilities. The system should aid users in the operations of events.

The facade to the north, spared of these gates, is the entrance of the park. These windows, once former ventilation ports seem suitable for planters, an appropriate blur to the park, but with particular caution not to obstruct views. Of the grand archway, it is imperative that this entry way is preserved in full. It the most unique perforation of the facade and its scale encourages heavy circulation as did its former function. Its height is perfect to bring in massive equipment. Because there is a safety liability and endangerment concern to the material of the walls, the park staff discourages people to sit on the window sills. However, their geometry, that is, a comfortable elevation and lovely scale for two within an arch encourage a new recreational function. Each window is an intimate space embedded in a solid wall. Although one such arch window has a gate, it restricts users to sit on its interior rather than both than a choice of both interior and exterior. Because the lonely gate promotes the patchwork nostalgic quality, it may be preserved, but not truly necessary. The lesson is here, to prevent seating on the exterior, gates are embedded, to promote free interaction, no devices are imposed. These windows should be restored with a suitable sitting plate to

encourage such activity. The eastern facade adjourns its neighbor, the Empire Stores, with four sets of arch openings with windows above. The adjacent warehouse will be transformed into an highend commercial and retail development. Between these two warehouses is an artery directing pedestrian traffic of dock street, the urban fabric, to Jane’s carousel, the heart of the park, former “wall of Brooklyn”. The southern facade is the main urban front and features 4 arch openings with 4 windows (one bricked) below, and 8 windows above. The facade must act with two functions. One, it must serve as advertisement for not only private cultural events but also for the park in general, perhaps even in a historical manner. Two, the facade should retain as much permeability from the exterior in order to reveal the open space inside. The west facade is a black sheep. It is an angled wall that cuts the trapezoid into a pure triangle and rectangle. The only indication as to its justification is new dock street which runs parallel. Whether the road came first, the building, or both, the wall also sports an assortment of odd perforations, whether caused by structural decay or improvisations within its use. The wall is of need of excitement.


OF ITS FOUR SURROUNDING WALLS. The facades of the Tobacco Warehouse is an alluring image of the ruin. Currently three facades bear cast iron gates that control the circulation flows of the site. When closed, the space is restricted to operation during park hours. When opened, new paths are promoted for event space.

OF ITS DIVISION. There lies a wall with two sets of openings that separates the space into a rectangle and a triangle. These geometries do not reveal an intrinsic purpose or ultimate desired condition. The purity of these geometries and this threshold does not necessary translate to the future spatial configuration of the intervention. OF ITS FAMOUS FRIENDS. On rare occasion does new architecture share its context among amazing relics. To the northwest is the Brooklyn Bridge. To the northeaster the Manhattan. To the north is Jean Nouvel’s glass box. Empire stores to the east awaiting a high tier architect and developer to bid. Not to mention it is in the Tobacco Warehouse, and the Brooklyn Bridge Park, East River too. Also the unfortunate high rise springing to its southeast. To what degree does the new intervention communicate to its neighbors, bow its head or turn its head to?

PAST AND PRESENT The history of the site speaks a tell about the natural and the industrial; a battle of the two to find dominance. At this contemporary state, with sustainability and green initiatives, we are noticing the industrial and the natural seeking mutual existence. What’s the future of the Brooklyn Tobacco Warehouse?

FUTURE A story of nature and industry terminates with a conclusion, the artefact is destroyed.. nature’s way, or the artefact is preserved through machines.. coldly eliminating the urban space. But must a conclusion be terminal? Can the future be unlimited and always under constant renewal? The acceptable solution is to achieve both parallel dimensions simultaneously. As far-fetched as this conception is, it is the appropriate decision in order to fulfill the best legacy of the site.

Should the ruin remain a park or become a building?

HOW? SITE/PARK PROGRAM DESIRES Compromising the desires and needs of the site and program. At the moment there exists to be a conflict with program and site. The added program reduces the quality of event space in the site and the program has no immediate benefit by occupying a ruin. WHAT DOES THE SITE NEED TO BE : REINFORCED


The legacy of the site is failing to decay. In order to save the ruin, new infrastructure must be added to amend and sustain the future occupancy of the ruin. Without occupancy, the ruin is just a visual backdrop, a photograph of what was and can no longer be experienced.

The site is a empty shell with no roof enclosing the space. This openness is the vitality of the space and the intrigue and beauty of its experience. Taking the sky away, or enclosing the existing facade takes the ruin experience and reduces the quality of its occupancy.



The eviction of St. Ann’s theatre has created a void in the cultural revivalism of the ferry landing area. The theatre event group runs a non-profit operation of the highest quality of new avant-garde plays. By using this program,Dumbo is establishing its credentials as a cultural nexus of Brooklyn.

A theatre that is flexible to accommodate a range of performance types and event options. Restrictions limit this diversity of play. Becoming flexible allows the theatre to become more than just a theatre, a cultural venue of Brooklyn no matter the size and audience.

... or create a project that changes with the seasons. ... AUTUMN, WINTER ...




“Evicted from the warehouse across the street to make room for a new high rise condominium by DUMBO developer Two Trees. After residing 11 years rent free, the theatre group has maintained a notoriety for their avant garde displays of local and international performance groups and have become important to the cultural community of DUMBO. The developer has proposed St. Ann’s move into the Tobacco Warehouse; to replace one cultural venue with a permanent one. ”

“The Brooklyn Bridge Park is a self-funded project aimed to restore the industrial remnants of the Fulton ferry terminal piers of the Brooklyn waterfront into open admission Park space. Unfortunately, being self-funded required the Park to sell its property to developers to raise landscape costs and maintenance fees. The introduction of Jane’s Carousel by the Two trees developers marked an new icon alongside the Brooklyn Bridge. The tobacco warehouse is beloved park space but economical viable for a turnover for private development.”

WHAT IS A TYPICAL THEATRE? Theaters have a long history dating far back to the earliest form of cultural interaction and stimulating entertainment of catharsis and humanity. Over time, the program of the theatre became an enclosed entity, outfitted with a layout that became adopted as convention. Here are two ways to visual the conceptual idea of the theatre program. 17TH CEN THEATRE Logic : 4-PART

The program is composed into four defined entities of two zones; front of house and house, stage and back stage. This reflects a social hierarchy that establishes a boundary between the performer and the audience, the public and the private with a frame (interface) that defines threshold of interaction. 20TH CEN THEATRE Logic : 3-PART

The program is composed into three zones, the private area known as backstage, the front of the house for the patrons, and the House composed of both the stage and the seating. HOUSE = Stage + Audience

WHAT IS A “BLACK BOX” THEATRE? In contemporary culture, our hyper-diversity has rendered many once fixed typologies and proliferated them into highly flexible institutions. The contemporary theatre finds itself in the ideal black box. Originally it was any space that featured a very open-minded definition of stage. All that was needed was lights and possibly some seating for the audience. The evolution of the black box has inevitably restored some the original functions of the theatre, and therefore is a hybrid of fixed and flexible spaces. The advantage of the black box theatre is its ability to change its form to any container, just like water. However, the setup usually remains the same with varying definitions of House, front of house, house (house and stage) and back of house (back stage). Below is the program of St. Ann’s former space at Water Street, located across the Tobacco Warehouse.

COMPONENT LOGIC : ACQUIRE THEN FILL. Acquire a space and fill the space with all the necessary components. LIMITED FLEXIBILITY Flexibility exists between the stage and the size of seating. This setup DOES NOT allow the front of house or back of stage to easily merge and share program flexibility. The space ultimately remains as three distinct areas; house, front, and back.

REDESIGNING THE BLACK BOX THEATRE What makes a viable performance space? In every type of performance there is the performer and the audience. The size of the performance and the size of its audience vary tremendously. In the consideration of the theatre, there must be ample space to be occupied by the performer and the audience. Everything else needed to demarcate this event is the envelope. An envelope in the design profession is composed of a floor, ceiling, and some walls. One way to abstract the theatre is as the core and its envelope; the performance and its mechanics. To maximize the area of flexible performance space, the architecture must free the core and program the envelope of the building to provide more services than simply structure and insulation. This leaves the design to focus on optimizing the envelope of the active space.


If building a theatre requires a floor, a ceiling, and a few walls, then these fixed infrastructures should house any fixed component.

FLEXIBLE PARTITIONING The task of flexible partitioning eliminates left over space from re-appropriation. This increases the flexibility between the audience and the stage, as well as the House between back stag and front of house. Essentially, any given performance varies between necessary space and may not even require a stage. That space can be appropriated to any part of the theatre without convoluted formal arrangements. MECHANICAL SEATING RISERS. Plastic and basswood modeling showing a single track that can collapse an entire stair riser,. Useful for a switch from a seated performance to a dance or banquet setting.

INFRASTRUCTURAL STRATEGY INFUSING MECHANICAL/DIGITAL SYSTEMS INTO ARCHITECTURAL INFRASTRUCTURE Architectural infrastructure conceptually starts as the wall, ceiling, and floor. Ultimately, the realism of the infrastructure is complicated by the immense mechanical systems necessary for a building to become habitable, safe during emergencies, and culturally relevant with new technology. The architecture, becomes mechanical, a

Architecture is a machine, a organic composition hooked up to the wires and devices that help keep its heart at a steady pace. These machines, stored and hidden, are the future of architecture scorned and hidden. We do want to see the vast extravagances that supply our advanced human needs.

living piece of material bordering the term cyborg architecture. Our inevitable dependence on machines means one thing. Architecture must not only account for the growth and flexibility of the program but the evolution of hardware and technology invested into the system. Where do all these pieces of equipment fall in our proposed black box theatre?

This project makes a point of revealing the negative and positive attributes of the machine. In doing so, these machines are exposed and infused into present architectural components to conserve space and maximize efficiency of the open performance space.

RECONSIDERING THE PROGRAM AS COMPONENTS A contemporary reevaluation of the theatre typology. Upon realization that several a multi-dimensional program relies on the same kit of parts, a conventional approach to listing program becomes useless. Therefore we must understand the program as the physicality of each piece, knowing that certain components can perform double functions or exist in two different states. The theatre is only one outcome provided by these components.

FACADE COMPONENTS: Front Door, Back Door, Loading Dock, Marquee / Billboards

FRONT OF HOUSE: Front Door, Lounge, Concessions Stand, Ticket Booth / Box Office, Production Office, Marquee / Billboards, Restrooms HOUSE: Fold-able Seating, Raised Seating, Floor, Control Booth, Stage BACK OF HOUSE: Green Room, Dressing Room, Locker Room, Kitchen, Stage Set Shop, Storage, Loading Dock, Trash Room, Janitorial Closet, Mechanical / HVAC, Back Door AND: Dining Hall, Gallery, MP Community Space, Courtyard

OCCUPIED COMPONENTS: Control Booth, Production Office, Restrooms PHYSICAL COMPONENTS: Fire Closet, Janitorial Closet, Lockers, Electrical/ Data Closet

Too defined. Let’s streamline !

MULTI-DIMENSIONAL: PEOPLE AS COMPONENTS: Fold-able Chairs, Fold-able Tables, Ticket Concierge Black Curtains, Raised Seating (Riser), (Stage) Platforms DEFINED COMPONENTS: Lights, Lounge furniture, Equipment, Grand Piano

SHIPPED / IMPORTED: Concessions, Stage (Set Shop), Artwork, Anything imaginable

TEMPORARY COMPONENTS: Work-boxes, Dollies, Racks

LOCALLY IMPORTED: Benches, Security Fences

Diagram of simplified moves indicating site strategies according to contextual forces and clues.

MASSING STRATEGIES ISSUE : IMMINENT COLLAPSE The Tobacco Warehouse is a sensitive ruin that has more or less settled into a decayed state after structural collapse of the interior columns and beams. Without interior structure, there is no bracing to hold back the brick facades; the walls are structurally unsafe. To prevent the ruin from collapsing due to a new intervention, the footings of the new structure is advised to stay eight feet away from the ruins, so as to not disturb the soil holding together the brick walls.



Strategy : OCCUPY Fill the volume of the property.

STRATEGY : OFFSET Offset the volume from the walls.




STRATEGY : LIFT Lift the volume above flood line.

STRATEGY : SLOPE Slope the volume from buildings to park.

STRATEGY : TAILOR* Volume follows function.

ISSUE : FLOOD WARNING In 2012, the site experienced major flooding with water levels rising three feet above the floor level of the ruin. To preserve the mechanical infrastructure and program components of the intervention, it is advised to lift the massing to avoid any damage.

ISSUE : SENSITIVE CONTEXT The historic context of the Fulton Ferry Terminal is dear to the community and historians of Brooklyn. The intervention is advised to conform to context and maintain a modest scale.

*Condensed for clarity. ISSUE : ECLIPSED SKY The experiential quality of the ruin was the brick walls framing the open sky. It is advised to maintain the beauty of these moments as much as possible.

FINAL MODEL. The final model was fabricated via laser cutting Plexiglas and welding each part together. The corten was laser cut paper, It is important to note that the model is mechanical. Because of the precision

of laser cutting, I was able to weld rods through tiny holes and make the entire roof pivot on a i-beam track. The stair/ seating model also collapses .

What follows are diagrams showing simplified moves of structural strategies necessary to compromise program and site.


Strategy : BRIDGE In order to maximize the optic relation between street and park, the building is spanned in the ruin from two parts, essentially just like a bridge.


STRATEGY : BRACE Using the existing column grid, the brick wall is braced onto the new structure. NOTE : STAR ANCHOR PLATES The tie rods and star anchor plates were the original clipping system for the facade of the ruin. Just like how the machine plugged into the infrastructure of the site, so does the new structure b y bracing these same points. The ruin is now held up by the intervention. However, this relationship isn’t so apparent as a user who may visualize the heavy brick walls supporting a light mass NOTE : SMALL FOOTPRINT A small footprint on the lower floor preserves the original urban space of the ruin. This is fit for outdoor cultural events when the indoor theatre is occupied by a private event or sensitive setup. NOTE : EX. COLUMN GRID The existing column grid of the original warehouse is clearly visible to this day, leaving traces on the floor and holes in the wall where column and beams line. The grid was meant to hold the brick wall in.. but now that the structure had been demolished, the brick ruins are standing unbraced, ready to fall.

STRUCTURAL MODEL. Using a piece of concrete, I created an intervention that clipped the structure of the intervention into the star shaped anchors of the ruin. Made from concrete, painted basswood and chipboard base..

MATERIAL STRATEGY Diagram of simplified moves indicating material strategies to correlate the aesthetic of the ruin.


“In the start, lies the seed for all things that will follow� - Louis Kahn. The story of the project is a continuous ritual of life in harmony with the seasons. Just like a stroll in the park, the discovery of things unnoticed come to attention at least four times a year. The architecture although static, lets the users experience the discovery of something new.

STORYBOARD RENDERINGS. Each rendering was a combination of site photography, 3d model rendering, hand sketching over the rendering, returning this back to Photoshop with vector linework..



STATE : ORIGINAL The original Tobacco Warehouse was a five story (actually square) volume.

STATE : RUIN Deterioration led the structure to collapse to two stories with its interior demolished.

STATE : NEW CAST IRON The original warehouse was made with standard bricks of its time, fairly clean and in good shape. The columns were timber and the tie rods were cast iron, so were the gates

STATE : WORN CAST IRON Over time, the cast iron has rusted and given a brownish rough texture. The brick is clearly worn, and patched by additional layering of new bricks and new mortars.



STATE : RUIN + INTERVENTION My proposition intervenes into the ruin, compromising two geometries together.

STATE : RUIN - RUIN In the future, the brick wall may collapse and the site will be left with a new ruin... my intervention.

STATE : NEW STEEL This intervention proposes adding two types of steel, interior black painted matte with a coating to slow down deterioration and an unfinished steel cladding wrapping the structure.

STATE : WORN STEEL The steel cladding is expected to rust immediately and start a process of creating a material attune with the patchwork of the brick and rough cast iron. Although the intervention is not designed to deteriorate as a ruin, the material gives the illusion and welcomes the thought that, as life, the new will eventually become old. And a new intervention can occur as well, whatever it may be. It is the cycle of life my design is accounting for and celebrating.

ACT II :: THE AFFAIR :: The poetry of the project can be expressed as the romance of site and program. Here in the open is a preserved urban space offering a sequence of events morphing with season and function. But it is a strange relationship. The program mingles with a site intervened by a machine perched at its natural body, sustaining life by artificial means.

ACT III :: THE PROPOSAL :: The drama of sudden architectural change plays itself in the form of new surprises using familiar comforts. The original ruin framed the sky in a pure logic. Here in the support space, we find a public event space void of any reference to the ruin, but pays homage to the open sky of its past life. The Brooklyn Bridge acts as a spatial landmark.

ACT IV :: THE ENGAGEMENT :: The project maintains a optic and haptic engagement between the ruin and the new programming. This joint venture allows a layering that varies in dominance at times and needs. Although the movement of the machines tell the main concept of the architecture, in truth, the performance of the building is actually a celebration of life and ritual.

The Great American Journey 2013. The Great American Journey is a cross-country trip of two architecture students, Rei Chiang and Artur Dabrowski.

40 DAYS, 12 AMERICAN CITIES It was a few years ago that the two of us started a series of singleday excursions around the tri-state area, which involved taking a four-hour bus out to the nearest neighboring city to explore its urban fabric within a day. We had barely traveled beyond the Northeast and were eager see more. Although the rest of the country was just a train ride away, at the time it seemed very distant to us. It was seven decades ago that Le Corbusier took his infamous voyage to the East and chronicled his newfound knowledge into a journal and ultimately in all his future architectural endeavors. Although France was intellectually refined, it was a narrow culture. And if “New York is the Paris of America,” our young minds are in need of the same enlightenment. Unlike Le Corbusier, we don’t necessarily need to leave this country in order to enrich our understanding about architecture. New York’s backyard is a vast area to rediscover. At the conclusion of our undergraduate program at the city college of New York, we applied for our school’s travel fellowship with the

idea of the great American journey. Although we did not receive the scholarship, the two of us decided to make the trip anyway, ultimately raising enough funds from our own Kickstarter campaign. On June 23rd, 2013 we embarked on a forty day trip around America using an Amtrak Rail Pass, making twelve stops across each major geographical division of the United States; a distorted circle through the country. The trip was a testament to learning through experience. By subjecting ourselves to various contexts, we have absorbed a great deal of embodied knowledge. A portion of this experience is presented in the following book.

It has been said in many ways: the only way to understand architecture is to experience it. That said, the only way to demonstrate this understanding is to share it.

THE GREAT AMERICAN JOURNEY BOOK. Selfpublished via Lulu, the book chronicles the trip we made around America, detailing our experiences., and composing a story referring Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

A ruin atop a “flying” fortress


FAIRY TALES On the road, I saw a lonely windmill, high but inferior to the sky. A banal structure ousted away from the built environment. In my daydream, I pondered of the two in reconcilement; of a windmill coupled with the urban fabric, of a windmill appearing to lift up and take a building in flight... a weight so terrible placed at ease in the sky. I had dreamt up a flying fortress. * * * Below, a boy encounters my creation. He is in the image of us all. He is the child inside — the one we have left abandoned when we go to our 9-5s. He approaches my creation in wonder. Atop this wind-turbine-powered machine sits a ruin displaced from the site below. The rabbits, denizens of the land, merrily hop toward him and exclaim: “Hey!  did you see this? It’s like the ruin just rose from the ground!”  The child is too shy to reply. He simply follows the rabbits as toward the entrance shrouded by a waterfall — a mysterious reflective volume. Behind the waterfall is a mirrored surface, reflecting the site… a camouflage. 


A HIGH, “TECH COMMUNITY” Forgive me, in designing a building that allegedly defies its gravity and its site, I did not properly introduce the context. The fortress sits at the edge of Roosevelt Island,  where a new university campus outfitted with the latest technology is in development. Solar lily pads, as they are called. Technology aside, the lily pad as a metaphor is blandly just a corporate advertisement.  There is nothing poetic about  its mundane use of solar cells.

to dispel the secret. But to the child in us all, we may be tempted to disbelieve our senses. When the elevator stops, an owl swoops from the sky: “ah haha! you cannot see what’s above this waterfall; a land unlike any other… ooh the mystery.” Although the boy is bewildered, his company is excited to meet a creature of the sky halfway! A first for their grounded feet! Circling, the owl continues: “have you figured out where you are? A technological beast; a complex for the businessmen and intellectuals of the new age of science! The land is beneath you, and surely, you are on another level…” THE MACHINE FLOOR

Therefore I saw fit to grant the highest of tech communities a building so technologically impossible,  to serve as a muse of endless aspiration. But the creatures of the air will always remind us that our flight is restricted. No bird is at rest in the sky, so how could we be? That is why there is a discreet mesh over the turbines, invisible to the human eye. Try as they may, birds are forbidden to investigate…

The fans spin fervently around the interior, working as the people do at their computers. The skyline behind their desks adds to the reminder that everything is in “flight”. “But this technological beast deceives you, child. The science of building is only interested in keeping weight down. The machine creates more than it consumes.” The wise owl rants. “These turbines are not wings like mine. When I soar, my age catches up to me. But these fans, they don’t tire. In fact, they become more energetic with every cycle. Of all the energy needed to sustain flight, how can you still believe you truly are?” SKYWARD Ah but the illusion of flight isn’t just an optical illusion. To an observer: the building flies. To an occupant: the ground disappears, and they are in flight. To a person above: they themselves, are soaring. The boy ventures away and emerges

onto a natural topography, engineered on the roof. The rabbits run, unable to contain their excitement. But the boy is saddened, disappointed in the reality of this ‘fortress’. A rabbit comes to him: “how can the truth bring you down when you’re up so high? Isn’t this the most wondrous of views? A paradise! The wind is in the air, the vibrations are in our soles, we are in flight!” Outside, there is no denying the senses. The ground sways below, as the clouds are at reach. The poeticism is not that an object can fly  but once there, a person feels in flight. Space becomes us. We produce in factories,  we lounge in lounges,  we fly in flying apparatuses. The child inside  will always remain to enjoy the wonder of space. Above, an educated man stands at the edge of my creation. The windmills spin. The water crashes. He is aware of what powers his monitor and what holds up his chair. Yet he says to himself:

“Remember the seed germ” - Louis Sullivan

2014. Independent.

3D PRINTED JEWELRY “The eight small banks that Louis Sullivan designed were regarded as “jewel boxes”. Like a jewel box, each is modest in form but decorated intricately. Although the jewel box is beautiful and ornate, inside is the real treasure; in this case, the bank vault. I printed a model of one of Sullivan’s jewel box

centerpieces. As a necklace when you wear the piece of jewelry, you’ll be the jewel box — beautiful and ornate, but inside you is the real treasure.” Fascinated by the work of Louis Sullivan, I researched his incredible pattern generating technique involving the metaphor of “seed germ” where a simple geometric shape

disseminates in complexity to forma highly organic pattern. I studies led me to the Merchant’s National Bank in Grinnell, Iowa, one of his more famous “jewel box” banks that he designed late in his life. The exterior is a simple brick box but adorned with this jewel. I decided to recreate this artifact. The original design of the pattern is composed of circles and squares offset from one another. Where intersections occur, and where voids

begin to form, the pattern increases in detail and ornament until the original circles and squares become nearly invisible to the eye. In order to recreate this piece for 3d printing, I modified certain thicknesses and reduced incredibly tiny ornament, but inall preserving the integrity of the Sullivan’s concept.

3D PRINTED SOLID BRASS PENDANT. 3d modeled and fabrication via 3d printing layers of wax that undergo the tradition lost wax process of making jewelry. It is then hand polished to remove imperfections.

Merchants’ National Bank, Grinnell, Iowa

Profile for Artur Dabrowski

Artur Dabrowski Portfolio 2015  

Artur Dabrowski Portfolio 2008 - 2015

Artur Dabrowski Portfolio 2015  

Artur Dabrowski Portfolio 2008 - 2015