Project
Experiments in Okra | Core 2 Studio

Core 2 Studio
Mariana Ibanez, William O'Brien Jr., Rosalyne Shieh
Spring 2019

When sliced in different directions, the okra reveals different spatial logics in the organization of the seeds - a radial distribution in the cross-section, and a linear one in the longitudinal section. This poses the first architectural question - how do we enclose multiple and perhaps even contrasting spatial logics within a resolved, closed system?

Through imaginative drawings, the okra then underwent a process of repeated splicing, bifurcating and rejoining. This resulted in the creation of organisms that morph from singular bases at the ground to a network of multiple terminating tips at the top, while offering a rich diversity of spatial qualities in between. From this, a second architectural challenge emerged - what spatial strategies or techniques do we use to transition between singularity and multiplicity?

The programmatic brief for the YMCA at Coney Island sets up a corresponding singularity-multiplicity gradient. On one end of the spectrum, it calls for a few, large, iconic program spaces such as the multipurpose hall, gymnasium, pool, and on the other end, it requires the provision of many, small, granular program spaces in the form of residential units.

Iterative drawings in plan and section served as the means of articulating, resolving and advancing the singularity-multiplicity transition. Rapid prototyping through masking tape models aided in the exploration of the different types and sizes of apertures in the curved form. The form was eventually rationalized with conics as its fundamental geometry.

Eventually, we arrive at an architecture which expresses an oscillation between the catenary-like curvature in section, and the circular curvature in plan. The spatiality of the okra serves to distribute their seeds in the most efficient manner possible for the purpose of reproductivity and survival. The spatiality in this architecture, is less about efficiency, but certainly also for survival of the Coney Island community, by facilitating larger-scale social congregation along the central, continuous, public spine, as well as moments of respite and intimacy for individuals who wander along the narrow spaces between the curved walls that have peeled in from the exterior, or punctuated from above.oductivity and survival. The spatiality in this architecture, is less about efficiency, but perhaps also for survival, by facilitating larger-scale social congregation along the central continuous spine, as well as moments of respite and intimacy, for individuals who wander along the narrow spaces between the curved walls that have peeled in from the exterior, or punctuated from above.