Between Space & Place portland, maine EMILIA A. BAKER UNDERGRADUATE THESIS 2012
We shall not cease from exploration, And the end of all exploring, Will be to arrive where we started, And know the place for the first time, Through the unknown remembered gate, When the last of earth left to discover, Is that which was the beginning. T.S. Eliot , â€˜Little Gidding,â€™ Four Quartets . London: Faber & Faber, 1986, pg.48.
Dedicated to George & Alberta Baker, my grandparents.
This initial reading of these void places may intrigue and ignite our curiosity, what can these exiled places potentially contribute to the city and its inhabitants?
of place. Scarpa’s interventions in Castelvecchio become seamlessly integrated within the existing framework - as if from the beginning, they were intended to be there. In the photograph to the left, one can see the existing fortress wall on the right, and Scarpa’s handrail, facing inwards towards the courtyard. The space between the fortress wall and the modern railing becomes an articulated walkway in the restoration. In the photograph to the lower right, Scarpa connects a void in the fortress wall by extending the existing roof adjacent to the courtyard, defining a new space. The resulting space, born out of two times, defines a new perception of the original space. The ability to see the inherent opportunities available within these existing fabrics, defines a space that bridges time.
De, Sola-Morales Rubio, Ignasi. “Terrain Vague.” Quaderns Barcelona Collegi D Arquitectes De Catalunya. (1996): 34-43. Print.
2 Fjeld, Per O, and Sverre Fehn. Sverre Fehn: The
Thought of Construction. New York: Rizzoli, 1983. Print.
Lyndon, Donlyn, and Charles W. Moore. Chambers for a Memory Palace. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1994. Print.
Menin, Sarah. Constructing Place: Mind and Matter. London: Routledge, 2003. Internet resource.
Rossi, Aldo, and Peter Eisenman. The Architecture of the City. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1982. Print.
Scarpa, Carlo, and Richard Murphy. Carlo Scarpa and the Castelvecchio. London [u.a.: Butterworth Architecture, 1990. Print.
Venturi, Robert. Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1977. Print.
‘Chapel Mugno,’ Analytical Drawing, Pencil on Watercolor Paper, 18 x 24”
The origin of ‘place’ is, “Topos: Greek, short for “koinos topos”, literally, common place.”4 Place is singular in our experience, and communal as it is perceived, and re-experienced, through our collective memories. What we perceive as an ‘architectural place,’ is space. Space is place through our understanding of the physical experience of space over time. Place is understood to us as what it was, what it is, and the potential of what place can be. To understand ‘place,’ is also to understand ‘placelessness,’ or, “Atopos: Greek, out of place, strange.” 4 “....it is the experience of atopos (literally meaning the ‘no
‘Castelvecchio’, Carlo Scarpa, Verona, Photograph
‘no place’): of Auschwitz-Birkenau, of inner-city nightmares; of Eliot’s ‘Waste Land’; and also the atopos of the mind, which is a characteristic of an emotional, mental, and physical nothingness that can accompany depression or sense of Unheimlichkeit - homesickness or not feeling at home, or a deep angst of unbearable emptiness.” 4 The forgotten place is the space of an, “... unbearable emptiness.” 4 Of a void. Of the duality of what is there, and what was once there. The places that lie within the tangible bounds of the city, yet expand beyond the extents of our own mental constructs of the city. These, Terrain Vagues 1 , as they are described by de Sola-Morales Rubio, are both captivating and romantic by nature.
S PA C E S
B E T W E E N Castelvecchio, Case Study
Castelvecchio, photographed above, is a study of a place that dwells between the here and now. The twenty year span of Scarpa’s ‘restoration’ project fundamentally questions, ‘How does one begin to build with contemporary means within an existing context? A question of the historical importance of the place as it currently exists is not as relevant as is how we choose to begin to ‘restore.’ The way in which we connect the pieces that we find awaiting our discoveries, is to build with degrees of permanence
Roof Extension, Carlo Scarpa, Verona, Photograph
1 Till, Jeremy. Architecture Depends. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2009. Print.
The Contingency of Space & the Permanence of Place.
The thesis explores the permanence of built spaces through the installation of temporary, or contingent1, spaces within a permanent framework. These contingent spaces become a vessel for the temporary events of: time, weather, and literal events for the city. An architectural space is no longer defined as a static moment captured in time, but as a lens to view the multiplicity inherent in the experience of space. Our perception of place is the contingent space, as a catalogue of fleeting images, events, and experiences accumulated over time. Architectural permanence is not found in the static image, but resides in the inherent duality between a lasting, and ever-evolving, perception of place, and the contingent space.
P O R T L A N D
M A I N E
What are the places that lie within the physical bounds of the city, yet remain exterior to the perception of the city’s inhabitants? The 10-acre post-industrial site, ‘The Portland Company,’ sits on the coast of Casco Bay, near downtown Portland, Maine. For over 100 years the site has accommodated the changing uses of the city. The existing brick shells on site have housed various events for the city, including: railroad manufacturing, steel forging, and it’s current use as a Marina. The site has also become an informal and temporary events space for the city. It is in the nature of the site - and the existing buildings - to respond to the fluctuating needs of the city.
E V E N T S
P A V I L I O N
The thesis proposes the design of an events pavilion, and public plaza, as a permanent infrastructure to support the changing public uses of the site in the city. The intent of the design is to provide a degree of separation between the existing private (day-today) marina activities and the occasional public uses of the site. The development of interstitial space, between the existing buildings and the new public plaza, hopes to foster a dialogue between the new public and existing private inhabitants of the site.
58 Fore St. e
Old Port District
t. Peakâ€™s Island
c o a s
O R D E R
S T U D I E S
The (re)ordering of space begins with an understanding of the existing infrastructure. The existing grid, and grid elements, are examined and (re)ordered per a set of rules that vary from print to print. These simple rules alter the existing grid elements, defining a new pattern. The new order of grid elements, juxtaposed on top of the original grid, define a new perception of space through the duality between the existing order and the new.
Red Print: Division of a square 18 x 24”
Blue Print: Repetition of elements 18 x 24” (Upper Right) Embossed grid elements 18 x 24”
(Above) Red & Blue Print: Combined grid studies 18 x 24”
Lasercamm and screen printing process photograph.
Sea Foam: Rotation of elements 18 x 24”
Navy Print: Figure ground study of a single element 18 x 24”
Sea Foam and Navy Print: Second combined grid studies 18 x 24” (Lower Right) Embossed grid elements 18 x 24”
ROOMS IN THE CITY The re-ordering of ‘The Portland Company’ complex over time has transformed the prescribed uses of both the existing buildings, and the site, as a whole. The existing buildings, or ‘rooms’ within the city, are not simply fixed moments or experiences in time. These spaces are continually re-defined (both physically and programmatically) in response to the fluctuating needs of the city. The open spaces, between the existing buildings, are also simultaneously evolving as they respond to the dynamic nature of both the existing buildings and the city. Thus, our perception of the relationships between individual and building, building and building, building and site, and site and city are ever changing, constant, and alive. (Left) Print marking the location of the tower in relation to the proposed place for the events pavilion. 22 x 30”
The Descent: /diâ€™sent/ [An action of] moving downward, dropping, or falling.
T H R E S H O L D The intervention for the public events pavilion begins within a pre-existing brick shell, that occupies the street that connects the city to the site. The only artifact visible from the elevation of the city, the 48â€™ brick shell rises above both land and sea, serving as a place marker within the city. This brick tower becomes a threshold into the site, as the design of the intervention addresses both the scale of the city, and the individual occupant, simultaneously. (Left) Site section from higher elevation of tower to lower elevation of the sea. 22 x 30â€?
Axonometric computer and hand drawing. 22 x 30â€?
The dissection of the tower results in a freeing of implied use and scale. The intent of the intervention is to define the tower as a vertical transition space between the higher elevation of the city-street, and the lower elevation of the site/water. The tower also serves as a mediating element between the scale of the individual and the scale of the site and city.
The windows and doors on the facade of the existing brick tower have implied both use and scale of occupation over time. To reconsider the placement and scale of these tectonic elements on the facade, begins to question the scale relationship between individual and building; building and city.
58 FORE STREET
SPACE AS A VESSEL F O R T H E T E M P O R A RY We enter a space flooded with light. Looking up, the field of color above us changes. A line is drawn across the field. The colors of day turn into the hues of night. The field moves further and further away. We descend into the space. A place between sky and Earth. A place between city and sea.
(Right) Model photographs of design development of intervention within the tower artifact.
The beginning of the intervention, within the pre-existing industrial tower, explores the concept of architectural place through the duality between the old and the new. The aluminum framed, wood panelled, facade system redefines the enclosed space of the existing brick shell. The boundary that had once separated the existing from the new is blurred, allowing for a single perception of space. A space that transitions between time - a room and place within the city. (Right) Development of facade intervention facing events pavilion. 22 x 30â€?
Tower North Elevation
Tower First Floor Plan
Tower Second Floor Plan
Tower Roof Plan
Tower South Elevation
Tower Section a-a
Site Section A-A
Horizon: \hə-’ri-zən\ The line at which the Earth’s surface and the sky appear to meet.
(Left) Site diagrams studying the relationship between the existing tower artifact and the plan for the new events pavilion.
P U B L I C
P L A Z A
The tiered plaza that runs along the longitudinal section of the site, is conceptualized as a public access point to the water. Along this trajectory, the various gardens and plazas are transitional â€˜outdoor roomsâ€™ within the city. These exterior rooms, altering the exisitng topography of the site, are to be changed and inhabited by the temporary events and public uses of the site within the city.
(Right) Events pavilion study models. (Far Right) Circulation diagram of public and private activities on site. 1/32 scale model.
PLACE IN THE CITY The series of images move as a narrative of an individual occupant, as they would arrive and experience this newly defined place within the city. The narrative begins at the higher elevation of the city-street, and transitions to the lower elevation of the site/water.
1. View from Fore St. looking towards Munjoy Hill (City on left, water on right.) a. View from within Tower as one descends into the site. 2. View from within the site looking towards Events Pavilion. 3. View standing on Public Plaza looking towards Events Pavilion.
4. Progression of Events Pavilion to the water. 5. Perspective from Eastern 10.Promenade to Events Pavilion. 6. Perspective from Public Plaza 7. looking towards city. 8. Interstitial space between existing industrial buildings and Public Plaza. 9. Aerial view of Public Plaza and Events Pavilion. 11.View of 1/32 Model
Site Section B-B
Temporary Event Space Section