OTHER MEDIANS: PARK AVENUE
LOCATION: New York, NY
TYPE: Speculative Competition, Finalist
PROJECT TEAM: Daisy Ames, Betsy Clifton
Leon Battista Alberti wrote the first architectural treatise of the Renaissance, called “De Re Aedificatoria” (1452). In this text, he described in detail how classical forms could be adapted to meet the needs of the day. Through his investigations of existing conditions and elements of architecture, he proposed a new future, new possibilities, and most importantly new ways of perceiving our built environment. It is in the spirit of deploying architectural drawing conventions (which Alberti invented and prescribed) that our project “Other Medians,” looks back in time to inform a new future for the medians of Park Avenue. We propose one plan, one section, one elevation, and one perspective as a way to imagine the past, present, future as well as a potential post-human condition, respectively.
Our proposal, “Other Medians,” reevaluates the site where the Racquet & Tennis Club designed by McKim, Mead and White and the Seagram Building designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, converge. The latent conversation between tradition and invention is a fertile ground to further investigate potential spatial scenarios.
The following drawings hold in mind what the French philosopher, Henri Lefebvre, refers to as ‘The Spatial Triad.’ The Triad includes lived space, conceived space and perceived space. In addition, we propose a final fourth type of space, an “unfathomable” space. Our project hovers in the realm of being strictly speculative yet buildable, a place of density yet release, a workplace yet a place of leisure, which specifically address the potentials of where both prime real estate and the natural landscape collide. In this way, “Other Medians” can be viewed as a looking glass to the past and a time machine to the future.