Student Work

  • Architecture (MArch)

    Whitney Shanks

    Union Square Inversion

    Union Square Inversion is a project that questions the uniformity of the ground level and re-examines boundaries in public architecture. In New York City, we live underground and don’t acknowledge it. This thesis proposes a conversation between above and below, revealing a deeper understanding of the city we live in.Union Square is an idiosyncratic site where massive infrastructure (the subway system) co-exists with public space (the park). The park itself has a rich history as a social and political gathering space, and stage for guerrilla activity. The architectural re-imagining of the site proposes removing the wallpapering of an antiquated European-style park over the technical guts of the subway station below, to embrace productive tension and blur the lines between park, square, and subway station.By inverting Union Square and allowing the park to infiltrate the subway station below (and vice versa), a new public space crystallizes as one in which physical, social, and perceptual boundaries are eviscerated, sub-groups continue to co-exist, and the space itself becomes infinitely more occupiable.