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A Downsized Manhattan Between Analogy and Abstraction

“Roosevelt Island Housing, competition” by O.M. Ungers (1975)

In 1975, German architect Oswald Mathias Ungers took part in the “Roosevelt Island Housing”, a competition sponsored by the State’s Urban Development Corporation for the planning of a neighborhood on the East River in front of Manhattan. Ungers’ entry is a downsized and simplified Manhattan, adapted to the proportions of Roosevelt Island and with a direct morphological reference to the original. A system of urban villas and towers are distributed on a regular grid. While Manhattan’s streets and avenues are transformed into pedestrian pathways, Manhattan’s original Central Park is directly quoted at the center of the urban scheme for a system of public spaces and a swimming pool. Each housing block (60 by 120 feet) hosts from 25 to 35 apartments for different incomes.

 

The Search for the “Open Form”

The Extension of the Zacheta Art Gallery by Oskar and Zofia Hansen (1958)

The project for the extension of the Zacheta Art Gallery was an unbuilt project developed by Polish architects Oskar and Zofia Hansen, with Lech Tomaszewski and Stanisław Zamecznik, in 1958 and presented one year later at the Otterlo CIAM, (the last one before the Team X took over). The project is a cubic volume connected to the ground through four corner pillars, hosting technical spaces and secondary stairs, and with the entrance stair located in the center, thus leaving the ground floor completely open. The main volume is enveloped by a three-dimensional metal grid generating a sort of double façade. Technical systems are exposed in the space between the interior volume and the one defined by the grid. The façade of the interior volume is composed by identical squared elements which can be uplift revealing a continuously variable series of openings. Two sets of stairs and enclosed bridges connect the extension to the original gallery.

 

Irena Gajic, Nine Rooms To Die In. (2016)

Belgrade-based Irena Gajic clearly reveals her architectural background in her illustrations.

Most of her works, commissioned by magazines and by exhibitions, rely on oblique projections and feature colorful interiors, rooms, and complex buildings, ranging from seemingly archaic structures to modern industrial plants.

The speculative series Nine Rooms to Die In was commissioned to Irena by the architecture magazine Soiled (Issue Nº6, Deathscrapers) “to illustrate an article about the design and medical ramifications of spaces for palliative care.” In the article, an architect (Dan Weissman) and a palliative care specialist (David Weissman) converse about the design and medical ramifications of spaces for palliative care.

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