there are two extreme types of additions: the lightly-touching addition with similar language and proportion, and then there is the parasite.

this diagram shows a few precedents (the list is growing) that i am looking at in an addition study. the first review of the semester was last thursday, and the big question for my project was what is this addition? is it something that blends in and continues the church? is it a distinct, autonomous object? or is it a parasite that cuts into the existing structure(s) and lives off of them?

one architect whose work with existing structures caught my eye is daniel libeskind. i have been to two of his buildings: the jewish museum in berlin and the jewish museum in san francisco. both of these projects involve extensive renovation and addition to an existing historic building. the museum in san francisco has a more invasive addition; this modified cube protrudes from one end, but is also more subtly present throughout the building. the jewish museum in berlin is expressed as an old building unto itself with a closely adjacent new addition.

what is very interesting about both of these situations is the way entrance is dealt with; it does not change. you still enter the san francisco museum via the old brick building, and circulate through the new addition to go to the upper levels. in the berlin museum, you also enter through the old building and go through an underground passage to get to the new part. it’s interesting to consider the implications of moving an entrance or maintaing the original.

this past week i went to the recently-opened and much anticipated renzo piano addition of the isabella stwewart garner museum. i place this addition on the more congruous end of the spectrum. being such an amazing object unto itself, it was important that this addition only touch the museum delicately; the only link between them is a narrow glass passageway. however, this addition still completely changed the way i experience the original museum because it changes the way you enter. rather than being on axis to the center of the courtyard, you now enter the new addition from evans way, walk through a glass hallway, and end up on the southeast corner of the courtyard. im not sure if the old entrance is under construction and this is only a temporary situation, but i rather think the old entrance sequence was more striking.

so what does this mean for my thesis? do i cut through the church to make some provocative expression? no, but i also don’t want to be so delicate as to only extend a small appendage to connect the church with some new program. the third way to unite old and new is to create a buffer. this buffer is important because it also expressive of my concept of reverberation. in this buffer, you should be able to hear the muted sounds eminnating from the church as well as those coming from the band rehearsal rooms. this will be a space for the public to wander in. is leaves me with an important question: what will happen to the entrance?

i was originally thinking about changing the entrance to the church. since the church is the monumental piece of my site, i don’t want to alter it too much, but some minor surgery might be okay. i was thinking about creating sloped seating by raising the ground floor level to the bottom of the windows, and allowing it to slope down to the current level at the apse. that way, the first window can become a door, and the others can be windows that are at a level one can look down into the church from. does changing the entrance completely change the space though? this is something that i will be focusing on this week by continuing my addition study, as well as looking at alternative solutions.

Advertisements