View Ecology

This is a proposal for a live-work art center in the gritty Kensington area of Philadelphia.  The project manipulates views to privilege the artists who live and work within and to provide teasers for the curious observer from the outside.  It is not a singular object, but rather a continuation of and reaction to the complex surrounding urban fabric.  It lines the sidewalk as many buildings in the neighborhood do, but its porosity and varying depth of surface present an opportunity for the constant play of view augmentation and restriction.  An overall understanding of the building is withheld from the passerby except from a few key points from which clearer views into the depths of the building are provided.

Program and form are arranged according to a scripted analysis of existing site visibility.  The most visible areas become voids for more public program, such as galleries, children’s spaces, and outdoor space.   Galleries are oriented along the axes of the views from certain external privileged points, making these the most visible from the outside.  The least visible areas contain the more private program (design studios and artists’ residences, for example) surrounded by solid form.  This strategy compartmentalizes program yet introduces unique juxtapositions, proving view to be unique design medium.

This project is published in Jenny Sabin and Ferda Kolatan’s book Meander Variegating Architecture, as well as in PennDesign’s “Work 09-10”.  It has been on display in several shows at PennDesign.



Black and white process sections


Ground Plan


Analysis of Site Visibility


Visibility explorations







Photograph that inspired my interest in visibility as a subject of design (taken in PS1, Queens, New York by Eva Jermyn)


Visibility explorations


PennDesign, 502 Studio, Instructor: Jenny Sabin, 2010

%d bloggers like this: