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Winner of the NYSCA Award,2003

This roof shelter at a pier for a water taxi/ferry will facilitate communication between Red Hook and the rest of the city. The design seeks to explore organic rationality. The shelter has three aims: [1] to register times, [2] to filter climatic comfort, and [3] to provide a marker for the community.


[1] The shelter will be a register of both scheduled and organic time. The wall consists of vertical sections marking the day's scheduled hours. A sun-dial on top of the roof indicates time for travelers on the west section, while the sun shining through slits in the wall marks the hours on the east section. Floating steel columns support the roof which moves up and down with the organic rhythm of the tide and waves. Twelve metal wind-valves open and close to wind-pressure. The visual effects of organic and scheduled times overlap in the form of shadows which mediate between the stable ground plane of the pier and the unstable surrounding landscape. A horizontal stripe at eye-level will provide ferry schedules.

[2] The S-shaped structure of the shelter, reflecting the ocean waves, is derived from an analysis of the minimization of shadows behind the shelter in the morning and the maximization of shadows during the overheated afternoon. The design is derived from an analysis of climate statistics for the New York region.

[3] The shelter will serve as a marker for the Red Hook community, as well as an attractor for gathering, contemplation, and sensual pleasure. The use of brushed stainless steel will create a shining "lighthouse". The moving wind-valves will flicker in the sun and create a light effect similar to shimmering waves. Natural forces are expressed in built form. The project enjoys financial support from the New York State Council of the Arts, and administrative support from the Architectural League of New York. The contractor, New York Water Taxi, had agreed to build the shelter in the fall of 2003, and the owner of the land, Greg O'Connell, had approved construction. We hope to build the poject one day if more funding arrives.

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