Matthew Cruite

Matthew Cruite

Washington, DC, US


United States Cultural Center

An identity for the United States is difficult to define, but it is in this very ambiguity that lies the essense of the culture. Rapid exchange of ideas intertwined within an immense web of cultures creates tension and contrast. In times of increased communication with other nations, how the US presents itself abroad can influence how international relationships are cultivated. In a country as small, yet as culturally rich as Finland, the question of scale and diversity, cultural and political differences can create an architecture of cooperation and friendship.

The grid of the site functions as a tense collision of time and space itself at the intersection of two neighborhoods.  Each mass follows one of the grids creating spatial ambiguity. This intersection of grids allows for a ground floor promenade to emerge from the nearby school grounds to journey diagonally north through the knot, allowing the user to be aware of the collision through direct interaction, but also serving as a thoroughfare ushering foot traffic toward the busier areas of the city. The opening to the south allows for greater exposure to natural light, and views toward the church.

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Status: School Project
Location: Helsinki, Finland