Center for Design and Democracy
The aim of this project was to create a center that incorporates the park area of Union Square in New York City with the center's roof, while creating a space below ground that forms an atmosphere ideal for public discussion and equality. A series of trellis-like structures located on the roof guide visitors from the park to the roof space and then down to the square. A series of large ramped surfaces were used on the roof as well as down into the building to allow for continuous circulation throughout and to encourage people to meander through the building. From the elevated grassy park area, two ramps lead down to the two lower floors of the building, creating an open void that allows light down to these lower underground levels. Glass exterior walls act as clerestories, allowing light to enter the sunken spaces of the lower levels and providing pedestrians with visual access into these spaces, thereby encouraging them to enter and engage in the topic of discussion.