Dramatic Inclines and Intimate Planes

The design progression was primarily motivated by the manner in which people interact, whether incidentally or purposefully. The built walking path would be 10’ wide, to allow for two directional traffic, with enough room for two people on one side to comfortably walk in tandem, with one person passing by. The built seated area is meant to be an intimate space, thus various attempts at defining a threshold were made, particularly with massive walls, light and shadow, elevation differences, and the concept of a completed square. Sitting in the intimate area, one would see the cantilever overhanging the threshold between the ground and the walking path structure. The view of a partial ceiling with the shadow that it would create completes the geometry of the square plan, making an imagined enclosure. The seating area is designed to be able to house three types of interaction: Intimate, Social, and Public. A semicircular void is in the back wall of the intimate seated space, to encourage sitting closely with one other person, or sitting alone. Because a circle leaves little head room along the edges, couples would have to sit in the middle, close to one another. Having a continuous circular wall creates another threshold, both physically in being depressed within the structure, and audibly. This would in essence remove those seated from the rest of the space. The intimate space is designed to be a tight enclosure, however, L-shaped benches allow for Intimate, Social, and Public interaction.

The structure is meant to celebrate the concept of escalating and declining, to create a more dynamic solution than stairs, which are static and finite. Where ramps alter our perspective, it is natural to want to scale them. The plan utilizes 90ยบ turns at the landings to slow the person(s) walking, and to include an area to catch one’s breath if it is so needed. This is still designed to be an area of movement rather than a designated area of rest, thus the infrastructure does not accommodate for sitting at these landings. The cantilever originated by wanting to include an exciting destination, to entice passersby to visit. However, it has since developed as another means of accentuating the incline from the ground level, meeting the ground at an angle. Too, the “back” of the structure celebrates the incline by having a depressed rectangle at a dramatic angle, radiating from the upper landing. The scale at which the structure inclines is directly related to the human figure, the first landing is at 5’6”, the second at 8’6” (+3’) and the third 11’ (+2’6”). At the first incline, little can be seen over the ledge, but upon further progression, more can be seen. The angles are meant to be easily scaled by all, and thus are ADA compliant. Too, the design utilises recognizable geometric forms so that the scale of the incline is easily recognizable.

The structure is monolithic and massive, while the seating area is airy and voluminous; partly attest to the open area created by the cantilever. This encourages lengthy inhabitation of the seating area, but temporary inhabitation of the walking path.

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