Pratt Institute (Eric)



Aug '08 - Dec '08

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    Breaking the Buffer

    By eric
    Oct 12, '08 3:51 PM EST

    Here are some thoughts in regard to my site analysis (99 Bowery, New York, NY):
    The Bowery, despite being rich in both history and culture has become an area frequented by new Yorkers on the basis of need; i.e. an individual [with the exclusion of residents of the Bowery itself] will tend to go to this area, sandwiched between Wall Street and SoHo, only if he or she has an appointment, has to buy goods, or has a specific event. As someone who has lived and worked in the immediate area, I am also guilty of overlooking, and even knowingly ignoring this area. My fondest memories of the Bowery consist of running through the Bowery to get to a concert or bar on Ludlow or Orchard Streets. In order to analyze and familiarize myself with the site I had to walk around it for hours. Each visit yielded more and more information and ideas. The first visit I noticed how accessible the site was via public transit (many subways and a bus-stop right in front of the site) and through biking (the Manhattan Bridge bike path ends a block away from the site). The next visit I decided to try to be more analytical and less technical about the research and settled on a bold move; expanding the site to explore its context within the surrounding neighborhoods. This led to a larger-scaled plan of the area with a typological analysis. The typology I focused on was interior public spaces- spaces that functioned either as music clubs, bars, art galleries, museums, or libraries were demarcated and noted in proximity to the site. Although there were two libraries in the neighborhood, all of the other typologies were seldom found. On the third and most recent visit to the site, I noticed an interesting phenomenon; the long and rectilinear park that runs parallel to the Bowery for eight full blocks and its effects on the neighborhood.
    Sara D Roosevelt Park was opened in the nineteen-thirties as an urban oasis to stop the spread of tenement housing and to create a large public space. However, over time, it became a buffer zone between the dirty, crowded, foreign cultured, and mysterious Bowery, and the rapidly changing, gentrified, Lower East Side. Through studying the park, both in its forms, functions and uses by the local populous, my aim is to propose a space that breaks the parks current definition, thereby re-generating the park as study for a Modern Library, a recreational reason to go to the Bowery. A park, like a building, has a plan, a program, multiple functions and dynamic information in plan, section and elevation. The first completed postulated analytical drawing, attempts to represent the interesting moments of the park through a sectional analysis. It contains 15 sectional-cuts through key programmatic points of the park. These points come in the form of playgrounds, basketball courts, soccer fields, gardens, Parks Department buildings, and public seating areas.
    Although the information in this drawing is accessible and important there are multiple steps that must be taken to complete the site analysis. The next set of drawings will examine the observations gleaned from walking the park: the definitions of terms used to describe phenomena’s in the park such as staggered and stagnant in diagrammatical form. The drawing should also attempt to describe the changing or shifting functions of the park in reference to the neighborhoods usage of it. Lastly the drawing must explore the broader context of the site in the neighborhood, thus exposing and expressing my definitions of both the park, the context of the Bowery, and the surrounding zones and the forms and functions within. Based on the programmatic happenings, forms, and context I hope to create a bridge between gentrified and antiquated, individual and collective, unknown and recognizable, historic and contemporary, public and private spaces, and foreign and native cultures.
    Lets see how it comes together- the ideas are definitely materializing in my mind and i have moved on from conceptual site analysis to structural system analysis. Photos to come...

    • 1 Comment

    • _JC

      I worked in that area this summer on Chrystie Street right across from Roosevelt Park. Sometimes I'd eat lunch there and just doesn't look like much but is used for so many different things during almost every hour of the day and night, and because of that it really enlivens that area. I guess the New Museum does a pretty good job of that too.

      I always find it amazing that there are so many damn restaurant supply shops on The Bowery. Looking forward to see some of those drawings.

      Oct 12, 08 11:05 pm

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