Voxel Hub

Program: Columbia University BA Architecture
Semester: Spring 2011
Studio: Design II
Critic: David Smiley

The project was to design a transportation hub for buses, bikes, and small motor vehicles in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The project was also asked to incorporate a museum and archive research facility for New York City maps and its transportation system development.

Using the concept of the voxel, a volumetric computer-based modeling unit, as a hypothesized real world spatial unit, the project  envisions a built form that would encourage ad hoc growth and use. The use of a unit based system, was inspired by the Japanese Metabolist movement, which thought of architecture and urban design through the lens of the human body, its framework, and cellular structures. In this case, the "cell" was the voxel unit which as a blank spatial definer allowed for the creation of a vertical and horizontal cavernous terrain with bridges, small punch throughs, light wells for natural light, and cozy niches. The 3x3x3 foot voxel would also allow for improvised public spaces and seating.

Programatically, the structure consisted of the bus and bike hub on the base floors with accompanied commercial spaces. Above, was the museum galleries, archives, and research facilities. The galleries and research facilities would jut out into the interior cavern as a playful take on the idea of a black box and white cube as curated spaces. The gallery cubes and research boxes would become the exhibited objects and their interior functions would become exposed in the buildings cavernous atrium for museum visitors, tourists, and travelers to view and participate.