A curated selection of architectural work samples | Conor Barry | Columbia GSAPP | M Arch 2019
This project was based entirely on The City & The City, a novel by China Miéville. In the fictional world of the book two oppositional city states partially occupy the same geographic territory. Citizens of both nations coexist side-by-side in an interwoven crosshatch of overlapping borders, yet are forbidden to acknowledge one another’s existence due to deep cultural strife.
The brief was to design the architectural protagonist of the book, Copula Hall, which houses the government bureaucracies of both cities and also acts as the gateway between them. The intention is to create a permanent, living monument to concretize and reflect the unique divided society of Beszel and Ul Qoma. The proposal is an inhabitable wall that splays apart at its base. Monolithic from a distance but porous up close, it symbolizes the duality of the hybrid condition of border as gateway.
Communication is the underlying theme of the proposal. With this in mind, every wall has a message designed into it. The solid stone walls in this proposal are intended to provide a platform for the building’s users to communicate across generations by etching into the stone work. As the proposal ages its walls become a tool for recording each city’s version of history. The building then becomes a kind of legend or a key for various scales of information that can be read across time and space.
The proposal is a new pier typology that aims to reduce the underused space of a traditional pier by incorporating a wider variety of programs for longer periods throughout the year. The scheme was designed with three primary functions in mind: Competitive Sailing Venue, Center for the Performing Arts and Public Amenity for the People of Geoje.
The goal is to embed the architecture into the marine environment. The pier acts as a bridge over the Chilcheon-do Strait and lives in the space between the tides. It connects two unused peninsulas on either side of the scenic channel to create a publicly accessible crossing that connects two urban centers. Tidal flux continuously molds the space on the pier’s surface and influences the activities that can take place, establishing an ever-changing network of programmatic density.
Large open spaces are provided to accommodate the temporary structures of international sailing events, which then provide a vibrant public amenity for the people of Geoje during quieter periods. The interior spaces beneath the pier include a dance studio, auditorium, visitor’s center, yacht club, cruise terminal and a marine equipment facility. A domed forum anchors the scheme and provides a multi-function community space to rejuvenate the rich maritime identity of the area.
This project re-imagines the role of the public library in contemporary urban life. At a moment when libraries are perceived to be under threat from a shrinking public realm on one side and digitization on the other, this proposal creates a civic space for the circulation of knowledge in all media.
All public program, including a lounge, computer labs, maker space and work space is housed in a glass cube that appears to hover above the public plaza adjacent to Fulton Street. This volume is separated from the existing city block and placed in the center of the plaza at the intersection of three major thoroughfares. Visitors can approach from all sides and ascend into the cube from below - an entry strategy designed to convey the openness and transparency of the project as well as the importance of the library’s role as a place of higher learning in modern society. All other program such as office space, administration and meeting rooms are located in a second building that knits into the existing urban fabric and is connected to the main library on an underground level.
The cube is supported by a sculptural core that provides access to each level. Every floor plate is hung from a system of steel trusses above, eliminating the need for columns at the ground floor. Tables and book shelves are also hung so that no furniture touches the ground - reinforcing the concept of floating throughout the building.
This project aims to respond to the profound changes that technology and modern day machines have imposed on the contemporary way of life. This shift has undoubtedly led to a marked improvement in quality of life across all classes but in doing so has left something of an architectural vacuum in the its wake. Architecture has yet to respond to the changes it has imposed. The vast majority of housing initiatives today could have existed ten or twenty years ago but if the way we live has made such a dramatic shift then the way we design for living should make a similar leap forward.
Our proposal consists of a raised perimeter block lined with duplex units. An elevated walkway hugs the main residential area and provides shared breakout space for the residents. The scheme aims to integrate emerging technologies into its design at three different scales: the micro the meso and the macro.
At the macro scale the project sacrifices all parking space for a driverless car and ride-sharing pickup area. The meso scale incorporates private data storage servers that provide heating to the interior spaces. At the micro scale each unit is equipped with sliding ‘smart-glass’ panels that act as interactive screens and space dividers. Every unit also has its own drone delivery port that allows packages to be delivered when no one is home. This port doubles as extra kitchen counter space when not in use.
This project aims to introduce a new type of urban infrastructure that re-imagines the city ’s relationship with its environment, particularly with rain and water.
We were interested in creating a soft infra-structure that acts more like an ecology, one that proposed a more innovative approach to urban resiliency. Our intervention is a research and development center for this new type of urban infrastructure, which also acts as a publicly accessible educational platform for demonstrating the more harmonious and receptive attitude towards rain, water and temperature that it aims to proliferate.
This system acts as a machine that comes alive and transforms under heavy rain-fall, creating one of the few places in the city that becomes more enjoyable when it rains. Establishing a single circulation system for the water it collects, the system reduces CSO pollution in Newtown creek by absorbing and redistributing water before it enters the sewer system.
Adapting cities to increasingly volatile weather conditions is not only a technical problem to be solved, but also a cultural barrier to be overcome. Our proposal addresses this issue by providing a dedicated center to both develop and disseminate the new technologies and, more importantly, the new attitudes towards weather and environment, necessary for cities to adapt to an ever-changing world.