Group Project Marco Magical Mangrove

  • Shinhyuk Kim, B.Arch. 2018
    Anna Kuchera, B.Arch. 2018
    Bradley Nathanson, B.Arch. 2018
    Di Wang, M.Arch.II 2017
  • Class ARCH 8913 Option Studio: Contemporary Stressed Membrane and Tensioned Fabric Structures, Exploring the State of the Art
  • Instructor Kent Lovering Hubbell

The project is a proposal for the Marco Island Center for the Arts Foundation in Marco Island, Florida, which is seeking to expand its facilities. Currently housed in a building too small for the growing organization, the foundation wants to establish a campus along a linear site which will assert the importance of the town's arts community. The intense Florida sun and a desire to unite the campus while preserving a feeling of indoor and outdoor space make the site suitable grounds for a tensile canopy structure. The semester began with a research phase organized by Professor Kent Hubbell that included workshops with a series of collaborators including Nic Goldsmith from FTL Studio in New York City and associate professors of fiber science Juan Hinestrosa and Denise Green. A site visit allowed the students to meet with the art center's board of advisors and breathe the Florida air for a week-long design charrette held within their current facility. The studio concluded with an elaboration on the designs from the visit for the final review, presented simultaneously to visiting critics and members of the Marco Island board. The scheme seeks to reinterpret the structural and spatial qualities of mangroves, so characteristically tied to the place of Marco Island and the Florida West Coast as a region. The plant's unique root structures manifest as arched columns around which the program is organized and within which the boundary between indoor and outdoor space is blurred; islands of embedded light-filled vertical spaces find themselves within classrooms, a gallery, a theater, and a banquet hall. Circulation is organized in relation to the aggregation of mangroves shaped by water flows along the Florida coastline, where indoor and outdoor space bleed together as students move through, in, between, and out of enclosed enclaves of the program and flowing, shaded open space.