|Name:||Bin Sayeed Bakhti|
|Studio:||M. Arch thesis|
|Studio Master:||John Reynolds (Thesis Chair), John Humphries, John Becker, Ben Jacks, Jeff Kruth (Thesis committee)|
This project takes on the ongoing argument about separation with physical surroundings in the era of visual-centric digital media. To create an engaging/rich experiential architectural atmosphere today, a balance between digital and physical architectural components is mandatory. This project embraces the novel technology offered in digital media and architecture to bolster the place’s timeless natural qualities. Consequently, the digital and physical, natural, and artificial, static, and kinetic components intertwined to create a hybrid whole atmosphere of rich sensory experience.
The hypothesis of the site-specific hybrid atmosphere was tested out on an abandoned subway in Cincinnati downtown. Using Steven hall’s idea of intertwining and anchoring, as well as Robert Irwin’s site determinant approach, the design uses both architectural and technological media components to focus on existing yet neglected urban experiences.
Determining the site’s various qualities (e.g., analogical, natural, experiential) and events/activities and using architectural and digital components to focus, enhance, or transform those characters – are central to the design approach presented in the following sections.
Site Selection- The Underground abandoned site rationally needed artificial intervention to be habitable and connected to the city. A hybrid atmosphere was natural for this particular site. The historically rich site has been transformed from the central transportation canal to an underground abandonment. Yet well maintained as the structure of the central parkway above. Further well connected to different parts of the city makes it an opportunity to experience the city.
Program generation-Unique events like a film festival, performing art festival, music festival, and Blink light festival happens around the site. These events are taken into account along with the study of other socio-cultural factors to generate a further program for the site.
Design Framework- From Liberty Street Station to Race Street Station, the project acts as a covered walkway with an experiential journey that connects with the city’s atmospheric and analogic layers. Further flexible cultural activity spaces for film shows, performance space, soundscape, etc. connect with the city’s activities and events. In Cincinnati Subway, the design idea is implemented through minimal careful surgical intervention in the city’s existing open areas to stitch the project into existing urban grain. The subway is connected to and accessible from different points of the city. It is further connected to everyday urban activity and events with its programmatic arrangements. While doing this, the original spatial and structural features of the tunnel are retained. Yet, a careful change in the long section made it suitable for the human experience. Analogic(historical, cultural) references are embedded into the spatial, formal experience, and materiality. A continuous water feature connects the whole project reminiscing the Erie canal while transforms into various forms of visible water flow to sound, vibration, fog, light refraction, etc. along the journey. The foliage on the median above the tunnel supports the olfactory senses with their scent channeled into the tunnel with mechanical airflow. Various media facades, smart glass, sensors are placed to create an enhanced site-specific experience.
For Liberty Street Station, intervention is limited to existing open areas; existing entries are transformed into ramps makes the project s a continuous extension of the city pedestrian experience. Site-specific media enhancement activates specific locations and also connects the site with the city above. The station, being a flexible public activity space adjacent to Warner Brothers office, also relates to city public events, e.g., Cinci film festival.
Race St Station is converted to another social space. The tracks are converted to a interactive everchanging water channel that changes the mood through sound vibration and light reflectivity.
The tunnel between the stations: A journey- The tunnel connects at different points of the city and acts as a long demanded covered walkway. It opens up at the various locations of the city. The site-specific hybrid intervention in combination with natural and artificial light creates a holistic mood. The city’s landmarks and activities also influence the space of the tunnel. The sectional change also transforms the claustrophobic narrowness to a humane, intimate scale, while retaining the original form.
Performative space: Body in the city- Along with sensory qualities, with kinetic shading, hanging bridge connection and flexible transforming stage, architecture in this location connects with the body and movements at both city and underground level like a living body itself.
Soundscape near Cincinnati Music Hall: Listening to the city- In front of the landmark music hall on the road level, the screens pixelate the urban view. The motion sensor transforms the screen into a soundscape with the movement of traffic and air.
Nature as a media show- Hybrid performance Towards the center of the project from either station, the tunnel will be more isolated from the city before reaching a glass room. The smart glass would change transparency with time, season, or even movement or gesture, turning the outside natural view into an everchanging virtual show. The visual would be accompanied by the natural sound of rain or thunder and the scent of the trees above.
The Garden and the invisible city- Eventually, the journey would bring to an open garden, unexpected in the city. The city above will be virtually invisible except the urban sounds. That sounds merges with the sounds of trees, water flows, and birds under the shared sky.