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SHIFT Boston barge design competition

June 3, 2011

Transformative Re-Use:
Repurposing materials directly from the waste stream not only demonstrates sustainable practice but acts as a catalyst for a public dialog about human interactions with our built environment. In this barge design the entire composition derives from 3 simple reuse modules: the cinder block, the 2×4, and the wooden pallet. An organization system was created for each type of module in order to develop the form and texture of the barge. The systems are designed to transform the modules from their original purpose to a collective that transcends the static modules into an undulating architecture designed to tantalize the senses. 
Programmatic Experience:
Each module system differs according to the material property, scale, and the module’s ability to interact with other modules. The hierarchy of spaces developed organically as each module’s inclination to transform dictates the spatial hierarchy and experience.
The phenomenological wall creates the main axis through the site using a stacked and rotating system of cinder blocks to create a combination of opaque and transparent screens. As the user traverses down the main corridor the wall shifts in view, light quality and opacity as it visually connects, screens and highlights the water, sky and city. The main center wall acts as structure for the pergola and divides the movement events in the pergola from the repose events adjacent to the marsh habitat.
The living pergola is a spiraling fan of wood 2x4s creating a semi-enclosed passageway dances in light from the captivating shadows, is drenched in aromas from the draping aromatics, and sooths the hot summer day with the cool reprieve of shaded misters. The dramatic form echoes the ripples of the surrounding bay as they change in their density to reveal and shelter the open sky.
The pallet topography creates a viewing platform and seating zone for public to enjoy the marsh habitat or city and water views. The stacked pervious texture allows for water collection, storage, and filtration to occur out of sight underneath the raised center pallets.
The marsh habitat is a symbolic reintroduction of the native marshland that existed before the harbor was built. The marsh allows participants to enjoy a warm sunny day on the threshold of our current built environment and a simulation of the natural shoreline that once was; a timeline of transformations and a moment to reflect.

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