Jeff Snyder

Jeff Snyder

Manhattan, KS, US


SIPA: San Diego Institute for the Physical Arts

The San Diego Institute for the Physical Arts endeavors to establish a new center for activity near the heart of downtown. In recent years this area of the city has undergone tremendous change. The neighborhood’s indigenous poor and a newly emerging wealthy class have found themselves side by side in an increasingly dense downtown. SIPA seeks to create harmony among these disparate forces through the practice of physical disciplines. By controlling their bodies, the people of this area have the potential to gain the skills necessary for success in life.

The building itself is the product of a long progression of study beginning with the wings of a dragonfly. This seemingly delicate artifact is the perfect synthesis of structure and diaphragm. By focusing on the essence of these two elements of number of sculptures were generated. These sculptures, which are made of steel, paper and wax, mimic the wings of a dragonfly in a visually compelling manner. Not only do these sculptures represent an important structural idea but they also allow for the transmission of light. The thin layers of wax diffuse sunlight and render the space underneath in a soft glow.

Each one of these ideas played an important role in the development of the design for the martial arts studio. The pavilion capitalizes on the idea of a multiplicity of translucent layers. These layers are shaped in a way that creates a number of interesting architectural conditions. The interior of the pavilion makes use of San Diego’s comfortable climate through the creation of large outdoor dojos. These spaces not only provide the athletes an area to practice their craft but also help bring in natural light to the interior of the pavilion.

Two main interior blocks support the pavilion roof. Inside these spaces a number of practice studios. The walls of the pavilion allow for the transmission of light. This effect provides the ideal condition for practice of martial arts. 

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Status: School Project
Location: San Diego, CA, US