Higher Ground

Yale School of Architecture, Fall 2013

Critic: Brennan Buck

Site: Mill River- New Haven, Connecticut

Published in Retrospecta 37, Exhibited in the YSOA Year End Exhibition of Student Work 2014

Challenging the basic purpose of the stacked stone walls proliferating the Northeast, this project for a river pavilion and workshop transforms the stripped down stone wall from a simple barrier between the cacophony of the road and Mill River into a winding form defining internal spaces. Diverting focus away from the street, the concept of the stone wall as both barrier and volume encompasses the program of a supplementary exhibition and workshop space for the adjacent Eli Whitney Museum. 

Cutting along the major diagonal axis leading from the entry of the Eli Whitney Museum to the river, the wall is inflected, signaling entry, and expanded, allowing the programmatic spaces to negotiate place within the wall. Layers of circulation gradually break down in formality as one approaches the final destination, the natural and changing river. Breaking down manipulations of the landscape from the harsh insertion of a stone wall at the parking lot to the gentle touch of the wooden path at the sites most natural edge choreographs a sequential experience that gradually immerses visitors into the haptic nature of the site.