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Nicholas Stephen Gervasi 2007-2012 select projects


content ABANDONED river[front/back] Nail Households Data Form Generator Danaus: A Polymorphic Installation Light Filtering Device PS1 Moments

thesis field research design studio installation design exercise competition

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ABANDONED river[front/back] a proposal for vacancy remediation [Cleveland, OH] Re-thinking the relationship between river and city in the post-industrial landscape, how can vacancies along the river in the urban core be utilized to create a more cohesive fabric? What is role of the threshold between city and water? Experiencing prolonged deindustrialization and population shrinkage since the 1950s, Cleveland’s riverfront has become overburdened with contamination and lack of activity. An abundance of vacant properties and abandoned infrastructure lines now exist in places where refineries, manufacturing plants, and factories used to proliferate. Not only has de-industrialization left city-wide voids, but it has also contaminated the Cuyahoga River the original motive for settlement in the region. Regarded as the impetus for the Clean Water Act in 1972, the Cuyahoga River has caught aflame at least ten times from 1868 to 1969. Watershed site conditions allow for particles to be washed from the increasing amount of impervious surfaces directly into the water without getting filtered through the soil. Envisioning each undeveloped parcel along the river as an opportunity for revitalization based on ecological concepts, this proposal links the remediation of the river with additive public space and research facilities to initiate a stitching of the fabric at the urban scale. Thesis 2011-2012 Fall Research Critics: Judith Kinnard and Carol McMichael Reese Spring Design Critic: Cordula Roser-Gray Additional Critics: Terry Schwarz and Michael Sorkin


Series of diagrams comparing existing site conditions with proposal site conditions. Diagrams propose new access, zones, adaptive re-use, and river footprint.


Site plan depicting use of trusses to connect building with riverfront. Section communicates relation of retention pools to topography of site.

Bridge diagram to the right compares existing stagnation of trusses with proposed adaptive re-use of trusses.


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Nail Households In many parts of China, urban villages are being demolished to make room for modern development. Tremendous economic growth and massive rural-urban migration over the past several decades has led to a growing demand for industrial and residential development. This process of evolution towards a new urban China involves a large amount of labor, money and resources that continue to fuel China’s economic growth. However, the demolition process also displaces and disturbs the families, culture and infrastructure that have existed in urban villages for many generations. Summer Studio 2011: B.A.S.E.beijing Critics: Robert Mangurian, Mary-Ann Ray, Irene Keil, and David Gregor Team: Nicholas Gervasi, Lydia McMullen-Laird, Ian O’Cain, and Nicholas Sackos

Taiyanggong 2007 - 2011


Because of their proximity to the capital, urban villages surrounding Beijing are especially susceptible to demolition and reconstruction. Although most residents eventually reach an agreement and move out, it is not uncommon that a handful of residents remain in their homes throughout much of the demolition process in hopes of receiving higher compensation. These types of homes have become commonly known as nail households or ding zi hu. A nail household is a Chinese neologism for homes belonging to people (sometimes called “stubborn nails�) who refuse to leave their traditional homes to allow for development.

Beigao 2009 - 2011


Data Form Generator Removal of Interstate 10 opens up 38 blocks of space in the heart of New Orleans. The shift from a vehicle-first to a pedestrian friendly environment will allow the area to rejuvenate itself. However, simply rebuilding the corner stores of the early 20th century that proliferated pre-highway is not full capitalization of the opportunity at hand. A rise in vacancies, blighted properties, and un-employment are the progeny of the interstate. Public space and contextually responsive spaces that could re-unite the corridor back to downtown would be ideal. Utilizing the numerous linear plots of the neutral ground and corresponding vacancies, an engaging spine can connect the medically oriented buildings downtown through ecological and pedestrian pathways to the edges of the corridor. This armature will change in morphology and density depending on data gathered from the respective points on the corridor. In concordance with the BioDistrict, this new armature will serve educational institutions, private companies, and government agencies all with the agenda to research wetland degeneration.

Fall Semester 2011: I-10 Option Studio Critics: Jonathan Tate and Julia Czerniak


Site data about topography, sunlight and shade, nodes, population density, borders, areas of regeneration, and open space was collected and analyzed in order to determine the most responsive spaces to the context.


Diagram from the Dutch Dialogues that shows the amount of wetlands that will be lost by 2050. Adjacent diagram highlights areas of blight in relation to the I-10 corridor site.


Danaus: A Polymorphic Installation How can form achieve varying qualities at different perspectives while retaining one coherent idea? After an initial process of individual designs, our entire class collaborated on one idea that would be realized into a physical installation to be placed in the school. The concept was starting with a two-dimensional object transitioning into a three-dimensional functional container. Inspired by the work of George Rousse, at one perspective the installation appears to be a perfect cube; however, at every other view the irregular geometry is revealed. Utilizing the collisions of surfaces in the lobby of the school, the installation grows in scale, extrusion, and polygonal sides as it reaches the third floor - where it becomes a system of shelving units for pamphlets currently scattered on a bench. Spring Semester 2011: Digital Fabrication Critic: Ammar Eloueini Leaders: Andrew Graham, Jazzy Li, Rachel Finkelstein, Nicholas Gervasi, Christopher Tellone, Kevin Franklin and Jade Jiambutr.

Members: Michael Landry, Sam Levin, Jason Levy, Alissa Kingsley, Xiaoyun Li, Nora Schwaller, Sean Fisher, Cat Cochanski, Michael Murray, and William Trakas.


Light Filtering Device Experimenting with light and shadow, this five week study investigated light as a medium for design. Focusing on the effects of natural light in the working environment, the device manipulates light to create more comfortable spaces to alleviate the previously mundane condition. The facade employs torqued panels that are shaped and twisted to match the function of the room. They form desks, tables, and storage cabinets for the program of offices and laboratories.

Fall Semester 2009: Facade Study Critic: Kentaro Tsubaki


The lessons of the light filtering device were applied to the studio project. Focusing on the technical aspects, the next stage of the semester engaged a more tectonic study of the curtain wall.


Southside Elevation

Scale 3/8” = 1’ - 0”

2” 6” 10”

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Section Looking East

Scale 3/8” = 1’ - 0”

Fifth Floor Partial Plan

Scale 3/8” = 1’ - 0”


Discoveries from the facade study were applied to the section in order to manipulate the level of light entering the building.


PS1 Moments AEDS proposal for the 2012 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program defines the concept of the courtyard within the urban context of the 21st century. AEDS considers the courtyard an urban oasis hidden within an urban fabric. This hidden gem, nestled inside an enclosure, references spaces such as the Alhambra in Spain and the French Quarter courtyards in New Orleans. The design stimulates a sense of adventure enticing the visitor to meander through a maze-like field condition of objects that distort the path to the museum. This antimonumental approach reveals an acute awareness to the human scale encouraging a voyeuristic curiosity to explore and inhabit hidden “moments,� activating the entire courtyard throughout the day and into the evening. A stream of water carves a path between the objects, stitching together three main spaces defined by the experience of water, mist and vegetation. At night, diffused light is fragmented through the digitally fabricated pattern that perforates the Corian surfaces.

MoMA PS1 YAP Competition AEDS Design Team: Ammar Eloueini, Jade Jiambutr (design, 3D model, and renderings), Nicholas Gervasi (design, diagrams, sections),Sean McGuire (design, scripting and patterning), Jana Masset (design and model) 2012


Urban strategy diagrams illustrating the city grid breaking through the walls into the courtyard.


Nicholas Stephen Gervasi nicholasgervasi.com

Nicholas Gervasi Portfolio  

2007 - 2012 select projects

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