The above was the final project as part of the summer intensive studio course (2017). We were divided into teams of 4 and our assignment was to propose a major intervention onto the List Art Center on Brown University’s campus. The objective of the assignment was to make an otherwise decent building into something extraordinary. While the sheer size of the building was a daunting task for the 10 day start-to-completion timeline, the true challenge came when we learned that the building had been designed and constructed by none other than Phillip Johnson.
It was said that this building was created to be an opening, a welcoming sign to folks in Providence. That Philip Johnson wanted instead of seeing the backs of buildings as one is walking up the hill, that the Art Center actually make an “about face” and show-off the beautiful views of the city of Providence. He ultimately wanted to make a "monumental front towards the city".
Hinging on this idea of the List Art Center being a beacon to the citizens of Providence, we wanted to expand on this original concept and asked ourselves, how can me truly make it a monumental front towards the city?
Through a number of iterations and research we came up with the idea of transforming the current arcade into a glass-enclosed atrium. Within this atrium we proposed a number of floating platforms that would serve as multi-functional terraces in which each terrace serves a different and specific purpose for the users of the building.
In the existing building, in order to navigate anywhere one had to go to the rear of the building into a dark, low-hanging (only) vertical corridor. We decided that users should actually experience this space and do so by having access to the most beautiful part of the building; the front. Within the atrium we created a series of stairs that weave not only vertically, but horizontally as well.
The effect is that now as one is walking up the hill that they look up and see this amazing 5 story envelope of glass. Whether your are a user of the space, or a passersby you will now be peering into what is essentially a looking glass of the creative beehive that is the List Art Center. It is our intent that this new atrium is not only a revitalized space that folks would like to occupy, but also a visual experience.
It was stated that this has been “considered one of Johnson’s most courageous, albeit overlooked, feats". It is our hope that we embodied Johnson’s courageous spirit by truly taking a bold & courageous leap ourselves and turning this great monument into something even better.
This project was completed in collaboration with Ziyao Wang, Ding Ning, and Mingyi Hu