Nicolò Lewanski

Nicolò Lewanski

New York, NY, US


The Game Of 19

The variety of accesses to space in Alphabet City is rich: collective areas of all sorts complement the merely private or totally public creating a culture of event and space appropriation. Sometimes, this habit flows into the streets of the neighborhood giving birth to innovative architectures – a church, a restaurant, a marketplace.
“The game of 19” as a project is informed by the fascination for this culture of the event, which contributes to define the very nature of Alphabet City. But how do you design for an event? My attention was caught by parked cars, a component of our cities that we so often give for granted, yet that claims for itself an enormous amount of space for the only sake of being available. What if we are able, not to get rid of the car permanently, but to displace them temporarily, when needed for a festival?
Suddenly my project was to design a parking, a building whose most important effect would be somewhere else. A street announces an event, the cars are displaced by the owners or by a service, the parking gets full of cars and the road free. The event takes place. Then it goes back to normal. And the place that is free is the parking!
As in the game of 15, there is always a free spot that you are able to drag around in order to play. And one interesting thing is, the design of this parking could then be inspired by the clash of uses of the parking, with a space for events. The main element of the design is the ramp that allows cars to reach the upper floors of the parking, and that is divided in 6 segments whose use ranges from a series of auditoriums, to a forestage, or a catwalk. The structural grid of the columns produces a variation which can benefit other uses; and between those columns it is possible to draw curtains and create wall articulations.
These elements of a quite generic design are complemented by five types of vehicles (kitchen, hi-fi, natural music ampli, library shelf, toilet) which are moving rooms in the parking, so that apart from these and the curtains, the whole building has no walls. These vehicles would move outside of the parking to create an infrastructure for the events.
Ultimately, the space these events can experience is expanded in all terms: politically, there is almost no harm to the owners of the cars, who are easily able to have alternative parking spots. Practically, because there is a number of structures such as the vehicles that can help with power supplies, water, shelter in case of bad weather. In terms of architectural space as well, as the street is liberated from its strictly linear condition, and can be used as a free plan. And on the point of view of representation: as a consequence of a systematic temporary removal of cars, the image of the city changes, imagining other possibilities.

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Status: School Project
Location: New York, NY, US
My Role: only designer