• Lighting Design (MFA)

    Shashank Singal

    Reclaiming Urban Canyons

    New York is no stranger to the contest between economic aspirations (favoring overdevelopment of valuable land) and environmental concerns (ensuring the quality of built environments). In 1961, the city introduced a mechanism called transfer of development rights (TDRs) to find the perfect balance between the two, in which locked built potential could be released for the development of housing and commercial real estate. The policy led to non-uniform developments where owners sell their TDRs to their neighbors who built ever-taller buildings, casting shadows over large parts of the city. This thesis aims to transform one such pocket of land in the Flatiron District, wedged between three tall buildings of residential, commercial and retail areas. This project proposes modifying the existing site to create drastically improved collective and individual spaces through daylight and programmatic requirements, and does not necessarily adhere to current limitations of ownership. Light and shadow play the protagonists in this transformation, which frames and highlights moments of intense interaction in the built form in the spirit of Caravaggio's famous chiaroscuro painting Doubting Thomas.