PROGRAM: Dance/Performance Complex
SITE: Queensboro Bridge, 59TH + 1ST
CONTEXT: New York City, New York, USA
Infrastructure as urban performance. Serving as both a backdrop to elegant theatrical dances and a framework for holding a wandering public, the Dance Machine enacts performance through both its program and its existence.
Industrial fabrication is often the background and stage for urban spectacles at the scale of the pedestrian. Human performance set against the scale and ingenuity of infrastructural projects emphasizes the humanity of each.
Volumes are bunched together and bound by a continuous public path. The massing seeks the most opportunistic relation between the public path and the clustering of common programs.
A continuous path allows the urban flaneur to move uninhibited around and through the various experiences. The path finishes as "Cheap Seats" are dropped down from the rooftop performance space—rewarding the curiosity of the flaneur with the ability to watch performances without paying.
The building frame that holds the dance spaces and public path is an appendage of the Queensboro Bridge. It mimics the found structural logic of the bridge and uses it to cantilever much of the mass above the plaza and street below while maintaining a certain degree of openness and internal visibility.
PROGRAM: Traditional black box theater in the center. Private dressing and rehearsal rooms stacked and attached to the back. Ground floor dining and popup performances site under the masses. “Cheap Seat” rooftop access is invented for watching a show without paying. The wandering path wraps it all together.
The volumes rotate and twist within the locked and rigid frame of the structure. A large elevation faces the busy intersection and underpass in front.
(F0): Lower lobby + Office; (F1): Bar/Upper lobby + Studios 1 + 2;
(F2): Performance hall + Public deck; (F3): Performance hall +
Studio 3; (F4): Cheap Seats + Studio 4; (F5): Rooftop theater
The performance hall floats in the center while the pedestrian path wraps the entire building and latches on to the bridge. The adjacent sidewalk is welcomed in by a double height ramped performance space and cafe amenities.
Private dance rooms hide from the busy street and face down to the resuscitated urban park below. Dancers enjoy private access to their rehearsal spaces and changing rooms.