Revealed Adjacencies: Spatial Simultaneity in the Urban Strata
Within dense cities like New York, the complex layering of various programs such as transit, infrastructure, and other activity creates a uniquely urban condition of vertical adjacencies. Within this spatial stratification, these various functions are divided and visually separated, preventing the city dweller from experiencing simultaneity and continuity of space. A disjunction especially exists between above and below ground. What if elements from above were permitted to penetrate below, and elements from below began to emerge from underground? Light—both daylight and electric—can foster dialogue and exchange to create new urban connections.
My thesis explores these issues through an architectural and lighting design intervention within the 59th Street–Columbus Circle subway station and its immediate environs. By peeling down the edge of Central Park and extending existing park paths into the subway station below, an entirely new relationship forms between the open space of respite and meandering of Central Park and the enclosed space of focused commuting of the station.
Opening up the fountains of Columbus Circle with glass bottoms permits much-needed daylight access to train platforms, while painting a new texture as light interacts with water. New life also is injected into an underutilized subway platform, adding programmed space—a two-story newsstand and an annex to the Museum of Arts and Design—to anchor the two ends of the underused platform. At night, the activity of commuting below ground is reflected above, with light emerging from the newly introduced apertures.