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Symbiosis in the city

Energy-from-waste plant with freediving training facility Manhattan, New York, NY
Pratt GAUD M.Arch Studio 05 | Professor Kutan Ayata | Co-teacher Alex Tahinos | with KoFong Hsia 
A calm, benign presence, guarding the water’s edge but inviting its exploration, alive, warm, heavy and slow, evoking symbiosis with the city.
The energy-from-waste plant develops a symbiotic relationship with the city, feeding from the waste of its people and in return, producing energy on which city life thrives.

This concept became a creative driving presence in this project, underpinning our intention to evoke a presence alongside the water, a building with its own agency that will become a creative catalyst for new relationships between consumption and waste, urban and rural, housing and public land, the city and the water.
Programmatically, the brief mixed a waste-to-energy plant with a free-diving training facility, requiring three deep diving pools.

This mixed program, and its urban location immediately adjacent to the East River, called for a project which formed a coherent whole but without dominating its surroundings. In response, our design destabilizes the part-to-whole relationship in its form, material treatments and its interior.
Formally we aimed for a collection of masses, avoiding a singular gesture or disolving into a field.

Successful and failed exercises in finding connections between simple forms determined our approach, to determine programmatic masses and connect these by extending edges and surfaces between parts.

We sought connections that were sometimes comfortable, sometimes uncomfortable, clear and unclear distinctions between the project’s formal ‘parts’ and its whole.

North elevation vignette

Section, recycling center

Section drawing at freediving training facility

South elevation from East River

Chunk model

In-situ east elevation (towards financial district)

South elevation vignette