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Female owned

Los Angeles


Solid Haze

Vertebrae’s entry for the New York City Chinatown Gateway competition addresses the city’s lack of a unifying iconic marker and symbol. Solid Haze proposes a contemporary, abstract version of the ornate symbols currently standing as Chinatown markers. The tall (forty-foot) volumetric archway form cants southeast, gesturing toward the center of Chinatown, simultaneously recognizable and majestic, but also elusive. Sketched out in space, like an artist’s pencil might search out a shape on paper, the gateway changes appearance with the viewer’s position sometimes solid, sometime ethereal. The abstracted symbol embodies cultural diversity, the very blurring of contemporary Chinese and American culture, and the dissolution of boundaries between Chinatown and its adjacent neighbors, Little Italy and the Lower East Side. The hazy resolution also acknowledges the virtual community, the other nearby geographic Chinatown locations of Flushing, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn and the act that the culture itself is diffusing in the global melting pot. Through its scale and visual tectonics, the sculpture acts as gateway, neighborhood marker, meeting place, and social media opportunity, giving Chinatown an identifying icon while simultaneously giving New York City an additional tourist destination.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Chinatown, Manhattan, New York, NY
Firm Role: Architect