Architect US

The Harboring Island

An incredibly skilled architect in our Architect-US Job+J1 Visa Program family, Fernanda Azevedo, gave us The Harboring Island for the Portfolio Challenge. Azevedo is now working at Relativity Architects as a Job Captain in Los Angeles! Azevedo understands that the way we design our communities largely impacts how we experience our lives. They view the shrinking sense of community in the USA as an important challenge that must be tackled by architects and designers!

Fernanda Azevedoa highly-skilled architect in our Architect-US Job+J1 Visa Program familysubmitted The Harboring Island to the Portfolio Challenge. Azevedo created this project for her MArch Thesis grade 7/8 at Politecnico di Milano. They are now working at Relativity Architects as a Job Captain in Los Angeles, and have been there for a year now! Azevedo state that, “The way we design our communities play a huge role in how we experience our lives and, although the shrinking sense of community across America has been widely discussed, many proposals outlined about how to bring us back together.”

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Thinking about these current issues and taking into consideration Roosevelt Island’s living profile, the macro project of the Harboring Island will be focused into the human-scaled urban design. One of the notable solutions being put into practice to re insure social contact within the city is the New Urbanism, an architectural movement to build new neighborhoods by maximizing opportunities for social exchange at all scales.

Another important point to be taken into consideration is the relationship between the metropolitan region and the single building, the macro and the local scale. A building that is connected to a transit stop will help the region function better, and well-organized regions benefits the buildings within it. A Street that represents more than just a corridor can bring neighbors together.

In a physical way, the concept of this project comes from the idea of community, in order to give a direction to, the now “empty”, Roosevelt Island. Taking into consideration the Forma Urbis as a starting point, the open question here to be answer is: Do people shape cities, or cities shape people? In either cases, the coexistence of people and the urban fragment is what builds a community. And, for it to be successful, both actors should be aligned in harmony. In the presence of this rare case that allows us to build a new neighborhood in New York City, the urban shape was based into two main axis: The alignments from Manhattan’s urban blocks and Cornell Tech’s new buildings. The first one positioned vertically from the site and the second one, horizontally. According to the alignments, in the Macro scale, the new urban blocks were shaped. From the juxtaposition of axis, four main cultural buildings were created, each one with its own public plaza. Their own architectural shape express the rotation of these axis and the directions of the public space. The surrounding buildings shaped the connection between these public spaces, creating a Cultural Corridor that allows encounters and unexpected experiences in between.

The urban strategy focus in the creation of monuments of permanence, as discussed by Aldo Rossi in the book The Architecture of the City, the main concept of the urban strategy relies on the design of qualitative local spaces within the new Roosevelt Island’s neighborhood.

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Since the location nowadays is situated in a “blank page” inside an island and according to the urban freedom of its surroundings, the concept of “creating” monuments is based on defining strategic central spaces that can be recognized by the community as spaces of encounter and interaction. This can be achieved by giving character to the built and by resultant, to the void. By making these spaces specials and well defined, the perception of these new urban centralizers can be seen differently and help to give new references to the neighborhood, acting as “new monuments”.

The main path, known here as The Cultural Corridoio, is a ten meter length pathway that connects the two extreme points of the neighborhood. In all its extension landscape is brought together, building a green pedestrian way that connects the three main piazzas. Since the main buildings in the masterplan are cultural related, the corridoio serves as an open exposition “room”, defined by the walls of the surrounding buildings.

Returning to the axes rotation points, the intersection of grids are where the pedestrian fluxes collide. Based on this analysis, three main piazzas were built from this collusion.

The first piazza, the Manhattan View Public Piazza, is placed right next to the Smallpox Hospital Pathway Gallery, serving as a lookout point to Manhattan’s skyline and as an addition sitting spot to the Glassbox Art Gallery.

The second piazza, the Open Events Piazza, is placed right next to the main neighborhood canal and in front of the Roosevelt School of Arts. It serves as a sitting space right next to the river central pathway that cruises in the centrality of the neighborhood.

Fernanda Azevedo created this beautiful work with Archicad, Photoshop, Illustrator, In Design and Lumion.

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Images by Fernanda Azevedo

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