Aquarium and Marine Research Center, Porto Palermo, Albania
Harvard University Graduate School Design, James Templeton Kelley Thesis Prize Nomination
The project proposes a Figure | Figure typology that enables two disparate environments to intertwine into one existence and experience. This new duality reconsiders spatial hierarchies established by oppositional dichotomies such as figure-ground, solid-void, object-subject; where one condition inherently always supersedes another. Informed by the program for an aquarium, space here is not conceived as the residual background trace of the relationships between objects, but as an experience in reciprocity with the environment of water and marine life.
In contemporary architecture, the fascination with surface (facade) and its meanings, readings, image, and visual effect, have killed the idea of space. This project is about inhabiting spatial form. The paradigm of two congruent Figure | Figure continuums that do not mix is explored through the study of Triply Periodic Minimal Surfaces and Parametric Variants. Minimal Surfaces demarcate the two reciprocities and provide the structural and programmatic logic for the project. The transparency of the demarcation enables an immersive experience of water and marine life; multiple materialities, suspended gravity, layered transparencies, flows, views and temporalities. This reciprocity between water and human space reconsiders the relationship between the human body, water, and architecture. The mediums of water and space articulate and envelop each other, contributing to the production of a new cultural, educational, and phenomenological experience.