Rebecca Velic

Rebecca Velic

Troy, NY, US


Arabesque: an urban beacon

Inspired by the form of a ballet dancer, the form of the music notation, and the design term meaning “an ornamental pattern consisting of intertwined flowing lines”, Arabesque is a term crosses the boundaries of music, art, and architecture. The cantilever on the east facade represents the outstretched leg of the dancer held at 90 degrees to the rest of the form. The line that connects the arm of the dancer to the point of the grounded toe is represented by the main mass of the building, extending from several stories above ground to several stories below ground. The slurs seen in the musical representation of arabesque are seen in the curving, stepping, south façade as well as in the stair connections between floors and between interior spaces.

 Also inspired by the form of the dancer is the layering system present in the building. The circulation, or “core” of the building is derived from the strong central core of the dancer, the skin/envelope of the building is formed after the physical position of the dancer, the veil that envelops the skin (that acts as a sun barrier, information projection system, and weather barrier) is modeled after the tutu or clothing of the dancer. This design is intentionally striking, fulfilling the objective of creating a performing arts center that would be at the forefront of experimental arts as well as a landmark for artists, performers, and civilians alike. The large amphitheater style entrance also included in the design intends to further this goal by making practical public space as well as functional public performance space. The combination of programmatic and form elements create a space not only for performance, but work to create a building that itself performs as a beacon-like object within the urban fabric of the city.

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Status: School Project
Location: Montreal, QC, CA
My Role: Designer
Additional Credits: Liana Pangburn (architecture), Nicholas Waryasz (engineer), Joshua Nodine (engineer)