MUSEUM OF THE RECENT FUTURE
New York, New York | 2008
In the 1960s, the Beat Generation writers occupied different areas of Manhattan, with a particularly dense concentration in the Chelsea neighborhood. Initially, the project maps the movements of the writers and their associates between various key sites in Manhattan, understanding the fabric of the city as a network of social and professional interactions. The project then evolves to meet modern programmatic demands.
New York City transcends the notion of physical fabric: it becomes a fabric of textual discourse.
The site is a block in northern Chelsea, along the High Line. The program of the project emerges as a paradox: a museum of the ‘recent future.’
The work of the Beat Generation was produced and initially published in Manhattan. Forty years later, the Chelsea Publishing House began reprinting the works with contemporary critical interpretations. The cycle of writing, printing, and reprinting becomes a regurgitation of information through space and time.
The museum program addresses the merging of the historic with the contemporary through the collection, display, and interpretation of artifacts. In addition, the building contains studio and office space to address the modern mixed-use trend.
The research on the Beat Generation shows the transformation of a network over time; the building shows the transformation of networks using a gradient scheme. The gradient organizes the program, floor plates, and building skin.
As the building moves up from the ground, the program changes from urban museum to corporate office. Simultaneously, the floor plate design changes from unique to generic. The building skin is in dialogue with the floor plates, creating interior voids and exterior balconies. The three architectural systems complement one another, creating an imposing urban intervention on the site.
The Beat Generation social and publication network diagrams
Beat Generation geography diagrams and building massing studies