Zachary Morrison

Zachary Morrison

Houston, TX, US


A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing

Public exists as both space and image.  Space operates as the framework through which the members of the public find action.  While the image is a collective entity that serves as the visual backdrop to a civic life.  The formal and graphic maneuvers of this project are used to produce an architecture that satisfy a public’s need for both space and image. 
As a civic complex for Houston, A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing, generates an ambiguously specific mass.  Performatively, this mass addresses and reconciles the two opposing program types (1) planner organization (Bureaucratic) and (2) volumetric organization (Cultural) into a single form.  The lopsided extrusion rises in the middle and flattens towards the museum district, liberating the ground and prioritizing the air, resulting multiple public spaces.  At the same time, this produces a robust and specific profile (public image), yet resists representational association.
In section, the form separates the civic and cultural programs to either end of the mass allowing them to be united by a large central atrium.  Cultural programs are organized through double height volumetric spaces while the office requirements of bureaucracy are organized on stacked horizontal slabs.  Civic ticket windows and cultural lobby areas share a type of indeterminacy (both require an undetermined amount of wait time followed by a scripted call to action) and are overlapped to provide moments of mixing publics.
The exterior of the civic form is wrapped in a large scale graphic pattern that reinforces the projects singularity while resisting a conventional scaled break down of the buildings mass.  Both totalizing and localizing, the pattern unites and zones areas via a single graphic logic.  This localizing is continued on the interior as the graphic informs surface strategies of projection or extrusion tied to the sectional distribution of the program.

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Status: School Project
Location: Houston, TX
My Role: Designer
Additional Credits: Studio Instructor: Dawn Finley