The “context” here is a place of “no-context;” a vast undifferentiated development of approximately two million square feet of space, within which the design center required individual places of specific identity and use. To achieve this, two primary architectural paradigms are juxtaposed, each paradigm a transformation/distortion of one aspect of the existing “context.” Further subsystems add character, depth, and consistency to the spaces.
These methods are employed in creating spaces using “controlled irregularity,” as in a forest; complex systems in opposition to traditional methods of spatial ordering using the regularity of a system of repetition. The elliptical volumes create boundaries, lines act as a grid (including the “real” solids of the built lines and the “virtual” voids of spaces left out), and dots provide a field within the space. The overlay of these systems results in the controlled irregularity of a series of spaces and vistas with great variety.
The first major system establishes a set of curved boundary walls within the undifferentiated volume of space. These walls take the form of distorted ellipses, a transformation of existing found boundary conditions. This biomorphic planar shell system is constructed of steel. The second major system consists of a series of thickened lines that traverse the entire space, cutting across, into, and through the primary walled boundaries. These distorted lines transform and tie together the existing irregular structural piers of the building, creating smaller zones of space within the three elliptical territories. This linear system is constructed of a lightweight steel framework clad in white plaster, accomplishing the dual function of providing runs for all the mechanical systems and serving as backdrops for display and exhibition. This system receives its form by becoming a three-dimensional resultant of the forces within the project that require accommodation.
The subsystems are: the set of voids which are discovered running perpendicular to the thickened lines; the set of lines in the roof construction; the set of skewed lines in the floor; and the many elliptical fiberglass elements distributed throughout the spaces (the field), serving as a visual/spatial counterpoint to the dominant harmonic structure of the primary architectural devices.