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URBAN SUBSTRATUM: AN URBAN PARK

A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Department of Architecture Cornell University In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Architecture

By Betty Huang May 2015


Š 2015 Betty Huang ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Permission is granted to Cornell University to retain, use, and distribute a limited number of copies of the thesis, together with the right to require its publication for archival use.

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URBAN SUBSTRATUM: AN URBAN PARK Betty Huang, B. Arch. Cornell University 2015

Abstract To be exposed to the city, also means to absorb and incorporate the city’s sensory patterns. The urban park confronts the urbanite with the challenges and possibilities of city life and urges him to become overly sensitive to the city. Through my thesis, I will explore the street strata of New York City, the intricate and artificial nature of its sensory patterns, and the city staged as a liminal space. The core idea of the urban park will recall our senses beyond the visual. The interplay between our different senses, such as smell, shelter, movement, and sound, results in a mysterious mixture of recovered urban senses throughout the site.

Advisers: Vincent Mulcahy, Eric Ellingsen

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This is dedicated to my family who have loved and supported me, my friends who have always been with me, my professors and mentors who have guided me, and my dog, Tiger, who has inspired me.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Proposal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Precedent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Site . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

p. # 9 p. # 12 p. # 21 p. # 39

Bibliography and Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

p. # 59

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PROPOSAL

The urban park offers the possibility of a transformative personal experience in the city. The interaction that occurs with the unintentional company of strangers allows one to appreciate the otherness in others and the otherness in ourselves. However, the conceptual approach towards designing these public spaces has reduce the park to a diagrammatic plan and programmed surface, de-emphasizing ‘depth’ and its associated behaviors and qualities. The park, stripped down to the elemental and the senses, offers an hyper activated experience of the things most hidden and remote to the city. A park of darkness, water, weight, and sound...

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An Urban Depth...

Within the urban park, there is an opportunity to resurface the hidden, unnoticed, or unexpected aspects of the city. I began by looking at the underground strata of Manhattan- the hidden watercourses, sewers, the ‘ghosts’ of Manhattan, and began to imagine the park as a place to reveal the city in an unfamiliar way.

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WATER In the past, the power of water within Manhattan was understood through its physical presence as wells and cisterns, street fountains, aqueducts. Water occupied a significant place in organizing urban space. Now, a vast system of underground pipes takes its place; lost are the physical traces of water, and the relationship between the urban and the elemental become increasingly opaque.

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Above: Indian Spring & Tiemann’s Fountain in Manhattan Left: The wilderness below your feet, the sewers and pipes beneath streets in Manhattan

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Sunswick Creek in Queens

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DARK, LIGHT

A sewer in the Bronx

Without light, the senses beyond the visual becomes hyperactivated. Smell, sound, touch, even light itself become increasingly precious and intensified. The park hopes to intensify the senses of the city beyond the visual.

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SOUND, MOVEMENT

Above: Haussmann, Sewers of Paris Left: Progress of the Great Railway Tunnels under Hudson River between New York and Jersey City

The urban flows below ground, the complex system of subways and infrastructure, are significant points of departure from the city. Similar to the park, the subway takes one away from its daily lives within the city.

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SITE

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The park is located at an empty big lot at 417-423 Canal Street, at 6th Avenue. Owned by Trinity Real Estate, the space is currently a rubble-strewn lot, occasionally augmented with temporary events like protests, food festivals, or Nike events.

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Above: Multiple temporary venues set up at this lot Left: Plan of site

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Section of the empty lot at 417-423 Canal Street showing the locations of the 1 train on the right and the ACE trains on the left.

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UNION SQUARE PARK

Union Square Park Open: 812942 - 98% Union Square Square ParkPark Built: 862 +Union 8784 + 2084 = 11730 - 2% Open: Open: 812942 812942 - 98% - 98% Total: 824672 ft squared Built: Built: 862862 + 8784 + 8784 + 2084 + 2084 = 11730 = 11730 - 2% - 2% Total: Total: 824672 824672 ft squared ft squared

Open space - 98% Built space - 2% Total: 19 Acres

Battery Park Open: 1343736 - 99% Battery Battery ParkPark Built: 16781 - 1% Open: Open: 1343736 - 99% - 99% Total: 1360517 ft1343736 squared Built: Built: 16781 16781 - 1% - 1% Total: Total: 1360517 1360517 ft squared ft squared

BATTERY PARK

Open space - 99% Built space - 1% Total: 31.2 Acres

Madison Square Park

Open: 472827 -SQUARE 99.9% MADISON PARK Madison Square ParkPark Built: 532 -Madison 0.1% Square Open: Open: 472827 472827 - 99.9% - 99.9% Total: 473359 ft -squared Open space 99.9% Built: 532532 - 0.1% - 0.1% 532 Built: Total: Total: 473359 ft squared ft squared Built space -473359 0.1% 532532 Total: 10.9 Acres

De Witt Clinton Park Open: 424383 - 96% De De Witt Clinton Clinton ParkPark Built: 15660 - Witt 4% Open: Open: 424383 424383 - 96% - 96% Total: 440043 ft squared Built: Built: 15660 15660 4% 4% 11788 + ( 4 x 968) Total: Total: 440043 440043 ft squared ft squared 11788 11788 +(+ 4 x( 4968) x 968)

DE WITT CLINTON PARK Open space - 96% Built space - 4% Total: 10.1 Acres

Bryant Park Open: 542851 - 77% Bryant Bryant Park Built: 160313 -Park 23% Open: Open: 542851 542851 - 77% - 77% Total: 703164 ft squared Built: Built: 160313 160313 - 23% - 23% Total: Total: 703164 703164 ft squared ft squared

BRYANT PARK

Open space - 77% Built space - 23% Total: 16.14 Acres

Tompkins Square Park Open: 735266 - 98% Tompkins Tompkins Square ParkPark Built: 13833 - 2% Square Open: Open: 735266 735266 - 98% - 98% Total: 749099 ft squared Built: Built: 13833 13833 2% 2% 4947 + 3193 + 5695 Total: Total: 749099 749099 ft squared ft squared 4947 4947 + 3193 + 3193 + 5695 + 5695

TOMPKINS SQUARE PARK Open space - 98% Built space - 2% Total: 17.2 Acres

City Hall Park

Open: 613400 - 89% CITY HALL PARK CityCity Hall Hall Park Park Built: 75920 - 11%

Open: Open: 613400 613400 - 89% - 89% Total: space 689320 ft-squared Open 89% Built: Built: 75920 - 11% 11% 36113 + 8056 + 75920 4272 +- 27479 Total: Total: 689320 689320 ft squared ft squared Built space - 11% 36113 36113 + 8056 + 8056 + 4272 + 4272 + 27479 + 27479 Total: 15.8 Acres

Proposed site with new typology Open: 49596 - 55% Proposed Proposed sitesite with with new new typology typology Built: 42673 - 45% Open: Open: 49596 - 55% - 55% Total: 92269 ft49596 squared Built: Built: 42673 42673 45% 45% 69024 or 19677 or 39319 Total: Total: 92269 92269 ft squared ft squared 69024 69024 or 19677 or 19677 or 39319 or 39319

PROPOSED SITE Open space - 50% Built space - 50% Total: 2.1 Acres

The proposed site with new typology of majority built space in comparison to the built:open ratio among other parks within Manhattan

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TIMING AND STRUCTURE In the different columns of the staff, symbols are written to indicate in which event/sensory trigger is taking place. The length of the symbol shows the period of time the movement takes, from its very beginning to its end.

SYMBOLS Symbols signify what is happening. If nothing special is annotated, each event is typical. By using “quantity” or “directional” signs, this can be modified. BASIC

MODIFIERS

Light

Directional light

Curb

Point light

Bad / Good smell

Stairs

Shade from tree

NOTATION KEY

Shade from building

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Place to sit Direction of cars Sound from building/ parks Gathering of people

Parked cars


By exploring the site through the senses, I began to produce an urban score of the senses around the city.

Broadway, in SOHO

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Light

Directional light

Curb

Point light

Bad / Good smell

Stairs

Shade from tree

NOTATION KEY

Shade from building

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Place to sit Direction of cars Sound from building/ parks Gathering of people

Parked cars


7th Ave, in Greenwich Village

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Light

Directional light

Curb

Point light

Bad / Good smell

Stairs

Shade from tree

NOTATION KEY

Shade from building

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Place to sit Direction of cars Sound from building/ parks Gathering of people

Parked cars


6th Ave, in Hudson Square (near site)

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Light

Directional light

Curb

Point light

Bad / Good smell

Stairs

Shade from tree

NOTATION KEY

Shade from building

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Place to sit Direction of cars Sound from building/ parks Gathering of people

Parked cars


Varick Street, in Hudson Square (near site)

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PARK

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The urban park is a surface that mediates between the above and below. The above as a large black concrete surface connects the public to the subway as well a surface to occupy as an amphitheater towards the subway. At the same time, the surface creates an environment below by acting like a filter for light and water.

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PARK AS AN URBAN CONDENSER Beneath the park, the senses of the city become heightened. Acoustically, the sounds of the underground like water and the trains fills the space.

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Study Models

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Rosenberg, Elissa. “Public Works and Public Space: Rethinking the Urban Park.” Journal of Architectural Education (1984-), Vol. 50, No. 2 (Nov., 1996), pp. 89-103 Carlisle, Stephanie; Pevzner, Nicholas. “The Performative Ground: Rediscovering the Deep Section.” Scenario 02: performance, Spring 2012. Web. 19 May 2015. Korody, Nicholas. “Architecture of the Anthropocene.” Archinect, 29 September 2014. Web. 19 May 2015. McDermott, John J. “Nature Nostalgia and the City.” Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal Vol. 55, No. 1 (Spring 1972) pp. 1-20 Zukin, Sharon. Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places. Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.

SOURCES FOR IMAGES Duncan, Steve. Underground sewers. 2012. Photography. Narratively. Web. 19 May 2015 Smith, James R. Indian Spring and Tiemann’s Fountain. 1938. Springs and Wells of Manhattan and the Bronx. Web. 19 May 2015. Progress of the Great Railway Tunnels under the Hudson River between New York and Jersey City. 1890. Scientific American. Web. 19 May 2015 Haussmann, Georges-Eugene. Paris Sewers. 1853. Engraving. Isometric View of Underground Piping at the Intersection of Broadway and Fulton St in 1890. 1914. Engineering News. Web. 19 May 2015 Occupy Wall Street group attempts to occupy LentSpace in November 2011. 2011. Web. 19 May 2015

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Urban Park - Thesis Book