Sky Filigree

Ihwa Choi
  • Ihwa Choi, B.Arch. 2020
  • Hometown Los Angeles, California
  • Class ARCH 3102 Third-Year Design Studio
  • Instructor Werner Goehner

The proposed art school and community center for the Columbia School of the Arts are situated on top of Morningside Park, hugged in between the neighborhood of Harlem and Columbia University. Two bridges extend across 116th and 118th street, with existing lookouts along the sidewalk providing an immediate entrance to the public programs within the school.

The two bridges operate as support for a light superstructure to hang upon, allowing the project to float upon and respect the preexisting site elements such as stairs, pathways, and vegetation. When circulating to the lowest increment of the grid structure, libraries, for both Columbia University as well as the public, intertwine and connect to outdoor reading rooms and sitting areas which wrap around and dip down into the existing trees and vegetation of the park.

The delicate layering of semitransparent hanging, folding walkways and volumes allows filtered shadows to soak the ground underneath and carves a textured roofscape for visitors below. The hanging spaces and lookouts puppeted by the superstructure above open towards the Harlem community into the park and suggest a new program to occur. The microadditions to the park, separated from the superstructure above entirely, such as lounge areas, communal gardens, a paved stage, and outdoor exhibition space, give opportunities to communal involvement and events.