Aaron Emma

Aaron Emma

Brooklyn, NY, US


A Plaza

     The program of this project involved developing a public space above a
major Washington DC city bound throughway, while introducing a usable
function in a decayed area of the urban fabric.  A significant
challenge here was placing this structure above a high volume
of speeding automobiles without detracting from the quality of the space.

     Evolving from many different scheme studies (to the left), the final design funtions as more of a sculptural piece of architecture rather than a functional one for good reason.  The pathway that runs the length of the space rests on steel W flanges spanning the width of the road giving the impression that it is floating while allowing a view below to make an event of the traffic.  Because of a tendancy for plazas in this neighborhood to become unwelcoming homes for gangs, the pathway is meant to be passed through rather than occupied in order to prevent the space from becoming “a place to live.”

     With the use of cold, jagged materials in the structure mixed with the rushing traffic below, the experience is intended to  be a frightening one in order to discourage loitering.  At night headlights of cars passing below are reflected off mirrors and onto the sails above the street bringing life to the structure.  When viewed from a distance one can see the pattern of the moving cars below, as the light dances the length of the plaza creating a dynamic light show as cars advance.

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Status: School Project
Location: Washington, DC, US