Michael DelValle

Michael DelValle

Derry, NH, US


Migration Center (spring 2010)

La Boca, a neighborhood of the Argentina Capital, Buenos Aires, is known for its diversity of culture as a result of it being a major port for immigration. This makes it an ideal place for a migration center, a facility for the exhibition as well as research of different cultures.

The intent of the public space along the river (upper left) was to use a series of ramps and stairs, which merge into one as a metaphor for the mixing of cultures. These ramps and stairs lead people down to the water’s edge, reminding people of the important role that water has played in migration.

To strengthen the connection between the riverside public space and the actual migration center, the merging ramps and stairs will also be incorporated into the architecture of the building. They will provide a spiraling path that moves throughout the building, creating an environment of fluid but confusing movement. A translucent façade, which will not allow views to the outside, in combination with the dizzying movement, will create a sense of disorientation. As a center for migration this is an important sensation, the same sensation that all immigrants feel when entering a new country for the very first time.

This map of La Boca (lower left), which had been created as a preliminary exercise, is a chronological representation of its migrational history. La Boca is given a hue of gray, enhancing the color of the flags. This strengthens the idea that all of these cultures, which are represented by their flags, are responsible for bringing all of the life and color that Buenos Aires is known for. If the building is seen as a metaphor of this, then its architecture should also be “gray,” allowing the visitors and exhibits to bring to it color and life.

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Status: School Project
Location: Buenos Aires, AR