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The cover of this book is a simple optical illusion, appearing to be either the outside corner of a cube or the inside of a room, depending on the way the viewer sees it. The reality, however, is that it is simulataneously both and neither. It is merely a twodimensional image. I chose this image not simply as a small trick but rather as a metaphor for how I think architecture should be pursued. Rather than simply approach an architectural problem with the solution that comes naturally to the designer, look for other equally-valid solutions or take a step back and reframe the problem entirely.

Mathew Dolan Columbia University M.Arch Portfolio

Salubrious Tactility NYC Public Restroom Core Studio 1, Fall 2013

Desiging a New York City public restroom allows for the opportunity to address the apparent heightened germophobia in society by presenting the user with a choice: utilize the typical, overly sterile restroom employing touchless sensors as much as possible or take the risk of engaging a much more stimulating restroom that results in exposure to increased germs and subsequently a fortified immune system.

Satirical sequence of using a hypothetical bathroom utilizing sensors to remove as much contact with surfaces as possible. 2.


1. Automatic Door Opener

2. Automatic Lighting System

3. Automatic Stall Door Opener

4. Automatic Toilet Seat Heater

5. Automatic Toilet Seat Wrapper and Automatic Flush

The sequence of using a hypothetical bathroom without sensors to maximize the tactility and bacteria exposure in order to strengthen the immune system


1. Hanging Beads

2. Touchable Wall


3. Bubble Wrap Deodorizer


5. 6.


6. Automatic Toilet Paper Dispenser


7. Automatic Soap Dispenser

8. Automatic Sink

7. 8.

9. Automatic Paper Towel Dispenser


4. Piano Sink

5. Soap Bag



10. Automatic Deodorizer



6. Grass Hand Dryer

Typical Bathroom: Utilizing sensors to minimize as much contact with shared surfaces as possible.

Enhanced Tactility Bathroom: Attempts to encourage as much contact as possible through stimulating tactile surfaces.

Enhanced Tactility Features

Curved Stall Door Encourages touch beyond that required for operation

Toilet Requires touch for operation

Baby Changing Table Morphs from the curvature of the walls sparking curiosity and subsequent touching to explore the construction.

Doubly Curved Walls More gratifying to the touch than typical planar surfaces of similar material

Soap Wall An entire wall consisting of liquid soap in plastic encourages touching as well as requiring it for soap dispensal.W

Bubble Wrap Deodorizer Patches of scent-filled bubble wrap reward users with gratification through touch, smell and sound.

Touch Operated Sink Typical of the majority of sinks, requries touch to operate.

Touch Operated Dryer Requires touch to dry hands.

Users have the option of a typical sensor bathroom to eliminate contact with germs. However, the seemingly harmless encounters in daily life such as holding or shaking hands, kissing, high fiving, playing with animals such as dogs and handling money are all times when bacteria and germs are exchanged.

Less Bacteria

More Bacteria



1. 4.


1. Two Way Mirror Bisects the restroom letting in light while literally and metaphorically causing the user to evaluate themselves before making a choice between the sides.

2. Liquid Soap Wall Seemingly flowing down the walls creating a stimulating tactile experience.

3. Hooded Openings Simultaneously allowing light in, adding dynamism to soap wall and creating vacancies for bubble wrap deodorizing.

4. Bubble Wrap Deodorizer Colonizing the vacant spaces left by the soap moving around the hooded openings

5. Exterior Bench Utilizes the lines from the Eames Lounge Chair, considered one of the most comfortable chairs in the world.

Research indicates that a lack of exposure to antigens results in weakened immune systems and higher cases of allergies and asthma within children.

Synergistic Capitalism

Local Investment Forum Bank Core Studio 2, Spring 2014

The plan for designing a bank was to have it let the community decide what it wanted to invest in, simultaneously growing local businesses, educating the community, and bringing in customers for itself.

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Dekalb Ave.

Site Plan





Businesses Overhearing Ideas

Business Incubator Spaces

Teaching Classes to Community

Businesses Present Ideas to Community

Community Consults with Bank

Bank as Bank

Bank Bringing People In

Bank The bank benefits by bringing in members of the community who are potential customers

Local Businesses The local businesses and entrepeneurs benefit by being invested in, getting incubator space or possibly being overheard by a current tenant and forming a collaboration. Teaching classes to the community also increases exposure and increases the likelihood of success after the incubator space is left.

Community Members The Community benefits by being presented with local investment opportunities allowing them to choose what types of businesses to foster. the chosen businesses then teach free classes back to the community

X-Ray of Building Program

Ground Floor Plan 1. Vault 2. Safety Deposit Viewing 3. Secondary Vault 4. Teller Windows 5. ATMs 6. Check Writing Desk 7. Welcome Desk 3. 1.

4. 5. 2.




2nd Floor Plan 8. Community Auditorium 9. Consultation Rooms 10. Bathrooms 11.Projection Booth


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8. 9.




3rd Floor Plan 12. Consultation Rooms

12. 12. 12. 12.

4th Floor Plan 13. Business Incubator Space 14. Seminar Classrooms


14. 14.

5th Floor Plan 15. Business Incubator Space



6th Floor Plan 16. Cafe Space


Section Juxtaposed with Brooklyn Dime Savings Bank


New York City Public Housing Core Studio 3, Fall 2014 In Collaboration with David Kagawa

Ouroboros: or An Architecture of Flexible Beings repels the notion of flexible architecture and embraces the users as flexible beings who can move between different living situations as their needs change throughout their lives.

We looked at the site through the lens of what the day in the life of someone living there would be. The area of the South Bronx where our site is located is a program desert making walking to daily needs difficult. An alternative is to use the local subway stop as a means to outsource program from the bronx.

OPTION1: CONTINUOUS The continuous option of experiencing the site is walking or biking to all of your daily needs, somewhat limiting options of various needs

OPTION 2: DISCONTINUOUS The discontinuous option of experiencing the siite is utilizing the local subway as a means of outsourcing program out of the bronx but sacrifices the continuity of experiencing the city above ground on foot or by bike.

Once the typical units were designed they started to be placed on an underlying grid so that at least one point within their walls met an intersection on the grid around which they were then allowed to rotate freely.

Unit Placement Logic: Structuring Variety

The units were arranged so that they increased in density as they move up the building while also more rigidly adhering to the orthogonal direction of the grid.

Level 1: +0’

Ground Level: -18’ 7”

Level 7: +140’ 7”

Level 3/4: +100’ 7”

Level 3: +69’ 7”

Bronx Site Elevation

East Perspective Section

South Section Perpesctive

The project is designed to allow many variaitons of living situations, it’s up to the occupant to find their place within it by switching locations and buying or selling units as their family grows or shrinks. The result is an architecture that is not flexible but allows the occupants to be flexible throughout their lives.

South Entrance Atrium Unrolled Spiral Section: Ground/Park Level

1st/2nd Floors

3rd/4th Floors


6th Floor

Cluster Living Room

7th Floor

Nature as Infrastructure Modular Phytoremediation Wetlands Advanced Studio 4, Spring 2015

The city of Hoboken, being a former island, is under constant threat with topography and rain conspiring to make it an island again. This project attempts to address Hoboken, and other sites that must pump out stormwater, by cleaning the water through phytoremediation.

Wetland Module Specifications

Optimizing Structure in Water

Initial Geometry

High point located above cistern Flattens to respect views from residential buildings to NYC

Water Flow

+ 78’ + 71.5’ + 63’ + 50.5’

Construction Process

+ 33.5’

+ 10.5’

Bulrush Scirpus lacustris USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-11 0 - 31.5” root depth 36” - 120” in height

Yellow Sweet Clover Melilotus officinalis USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-10 0 - 38” root depth 12” - 48” in height

Cattail Sago Pondweed Typha latifolia Potamogeton pectinatus USDA Hardiness Zone: USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-11 6-10 0 - 11.8” root depth 48” - 72” in height

0 - 5” root depth 18” deep water

Sunflower Helianthus Annuus USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-9

White Waterlilly Nymphea alba USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-10

Sorgham Sorghum bicolor USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-10

Eastern Cottonwood Populus deltoides USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9

White Clover Trifolium repens USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Black WIllow Salix Negra USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8

48” - 118” root depth 6’ - 8’ in height

48” - 118” root depth 11.5’ - 16’ in height

0 - 8” root depth 2” - 8” in height

6” - 29” root depth 18” deep water

100” - 196” root depth 60’ - 98’ in height

24” - 36” root depth 30’ - 90’ in height

Phytoremediation Section

Weehawken Cove

Site Plan Showing Cistern and Location of Pump Room/ Kayak Boat House

Site Plan Showing Structure and Paths

The creation of modules allows for flexibility in design that simultaneously creates the wetlands that the North Huidson Sewer Authority wants, while maintaining and enhancing Weehawken Cove as a destination for kayakers and pedestrians.

Site Plan Showing Module Layout Based on Plant Species

Symbiosis Circus

Dynamic Performance Space

Advanced Studio 5, Fall 2015 In Collaboration with Guangbin Zhen

In designing a performance space calibrated for a circus, the goal became to use the multiple focal points within a circus to create a new type of space that encourages movement between simultaneous performances while blurring the boundaries between performance spaces, circulation, concourse and back of house spaces.

The circus is a form of entertainment that has active performers and an active audience that cheers, claps, laughs, and gasps in awe. In contrast, an orchestral concert has relatively subdued performers and audience and is a noteworthy example of the typical performer/audience relationship. It is the active nature of the circus audience that inspired our performance space.

Performer/Audience Activity Level

Circus vs. Concert Hall

Open Space

Acoustically-Calibrated Space

Multiple Focal Points

Single Focal Point

Active Performers

Stationary Performers

Ubiquitous Seating

Terraced Seating

Our concept for this new performance space was to combine the multiple focal points inherent within the circus and combine them with terraced seating that allows for performances on multiple levels simultaneously, which creates desire within the audience to become active in pursuing views of different performances and experiences.

Ground Level Plan



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The Whitney Museum of American Art

Gansevoort St.





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4. 7. 4.


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4. 3.


2. 1.

1. 4.


Ground Level Plan 1. Entrance 2. Ticket/Information Counter 3. Circus Exhibit 4. Circulation Cores 5. Center Ring Hydraulic Lift 6. Back of House Space 7. Back of House Storage 8. Truck/Equipment Entrance

Ground Level Render

Ground Level Plan

Performance Level Plan



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The Whitney Museum of American Art

Gansevoort St.





Performance Level Features

Circulation Between Rings ADA Ramps to the concourse beneath adjacent rings and stairs leading up to adjacent rings allows for ease of movement between performances

Elevator/High Wire Support Allows for easy access to the highest rings and utilizes the vertical nature of an elevator shaft as support for aerial acts

Aisle Amongst Seats Facilitates movement from the seating to allow for the audience to easily pursue a performance that may catch their eye in a different area

Wide Rows/Seat Cushions Wide Rows allow for easy circulation from the seats. Using seat cushions instead of typical chairs with backrests promotes audience movement.

Concourse Render

Roof Plan



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The Whitney Museum of American Art

Gansevoort St.





Performer/Audience Interraction Axon

Performance Level Features

Center Ring Hydraulic Lift Performers can enter the center ring at the ground level from back of house spaces. The entire ring can then rise to the performance level.

Concourse Performances The audience encounters casual performances in the concourse as performers wait for their turn in a ring.

Active Audience The audience moves between different concourse and performance areas exploring different acts, creating a limitless number of experiences.

Cyclical Performances Performers utilize various circulation cores to access the concourse and performance rings then return to back of house via a different route.

Collapsed Architecture

Audience Experience Performer Experience

Performance Timeline

The audience is allowed to enter or leave at any point within the 3 hour performance window. Performers move from back of house spaces through public concourse and circulation spaces to get to the performance ring to perform before returning to the back of house spaces on a cycle. The audience chooses their own experience by moving through different spaces and coming across different performances.


Performance Level Render

Exterior Render

Mathew Dolan

Profile for MDolan

GSAPP Portfolio 2016  

Mathew Dolan GSAPP Portfolio Draft 2016

GSAPP Portfolio 2016  

Mathew Dolan GSAPP Portfolio Draft 2016