2500 sf - 2017 - New York City
Gateways to Chinatown Competition
Design: Slice Lab + Young Village + Pavel Zeldovich
The architectural manifestation of our proposal is a celebration of the number 8 in Chinese culture as well as its simplified Chinese character form: Architecturally, we wanted to translate the goal of merging the old and the new. In order to do that, we are re-interpreting what we considered very important symbols of Chinese culture such as the integrity and elegance of the bamboo, the materiality and colors found in a great number of traditional Chinese temples, as well as the ever-so present and iconic Chinese lantern - all in order to develop our project. We first started by looking at the necessary steps to take to re-urbanize and improve the community usage of the site in terms of circulation. We decided to get rid of the very small sidewalks along the long of the site, and instead open it up and create new additional path going from the tip of the site (corner of Walker St & Canal St) to Baxter Street, in order for the site to be fully utilized by the community. In a way to further emphasize this idea of passing through this new Gateway, we used an architectural language reminiscent of Bamboo forests to surround and frame this new path. The distribution of the bamboo framing was also guided in plan by the symbolic geometry of the Chinese character: and how it reminds us of two walls converging to one opening.
The framing is also emphasized by the new topography of the site, which elevates on the edges along Walker St and Canal Street to block people going through the site from the surrounding traffic, and allows them to escape the craziness of Manhattan's traffic if just for a second.
The landscape is in itself homage and references the materials and colors found in a great number of traditional wooden Chinese temples, by using wood and a splash of red and gold finishes sporadically throughout the site.