Land Forms

Academic | MIT, Instructor Kyle Coburn, 2020

This special interest for this project, a contemporary YMCA, is the relationship with between architecture and the community. Situated on a site sandwiched by the water and the city, this project mediates this unique edge condition by manipulating the forces of the roads to generate space for public activities, instead of cutting off on the city grid bluntly. The logic of the geometry is derived from the tangency of these curves,  enabling a smooth transition of spatial experience, creating a morphed relationship between landscape and architecture on an originally flat urban setting, as a new type of urban landform.

bird view from the city

view from the river

The programs were hosted by three interconnected clusters - the community pavilion, the gym pavilion, and the pool pavilion. The extraction of a central volume serves different purposes in each pavilion - a internal courtyard as children’s playground surrounded by a ring of space for community activities; a skylight that lightens the gym pavilion and provides visual connection with its urban setting; and a residential tower that is integrated into the pool pavilion.

This project also attempts to discover a new definition of city connections through morphing - it blurs the distinction between roadway, sidewalk, public plaza, landscape, ground, roof, wall, entrance, exit, and boardwalk. This project stretches the potential for architecture to be “zero sum” public space, simply meaning that the land occupied by the building and its corresponding development is given back to the public in a new form. Transitional, mediating, ambiguous and porous - land forms architecture.

© 2022 Daisy Zhang