The Andrew's Hotel, 197 Bowery, New York
Drift House is a temporary homeless shelter sited in an existing walk up in Manhattan’s “Bowery” neighborhood. The project is designed as an environment that grows, shrinks, shifts, and adapts according to the living requirements of its inhabitants. The ornament on the surface of Drift house changes in size and shape, a trait that allows it to gradually fluctuate, or “drift”, from one state to another (open to closed, public to private, light to dark).
The unit’s primary drifting component is a large sliding aluminum shell located along its front elevation. When “open”, the unit expands to internalize public space. When “closed”, the unit shifts some of its volume outside the unit, giving it back to a public “porch” space. Four units share each porch space, always located adjacent to the building’s public corridor. This encourages chance encounters and neighborly conversation.
We propose interplay between performance and ornament, between utility and mimesis, to surreptitiously re-insert ourselves as professionals into the art of building. For us, ornament evolves as a manifestation of “site forces” and therefore works to infiltrate the poetic, compositional aspirations of a design. “Site”, as a term, is currently rooted in static pedagogical definitions, evoking images of landscapes; at worst a two-dimensional schematic drawing or photo, at best a technologically abstract “model.” Sanford Kwinter redefines the idea of site, and provides a theoretical foundation from which we build:
“ This analytical model- based on developmental pathways, dynamic interactions, singular points, and qualitative, movements in abstract, sometimes multi-dimensional space- arguably furnishes a far richer theory of “site” than most currently employed in orthodox aesthetic or architectural practice.”
Within this expanded definition of site, ornament propels itself beyond its semantic and decorative history as a mere application to become an integrated, conscious system.
M5 Gallery, Chicago
Edge Gallery, Pittsburgh
Urban Center, NYC
National Honors Award for Design, ACSA 2005, Chicago