Project
OPEN WORK | Option Studio

Option Studio: OPEN WORK

Enrique Walker

Fall 2019

Our brief was to double the Patscenter by Richard Rogers. The project was completed in 1985. The roof is suspended from above by an A-frame, cantilevering 75 ft and freeing the floor below. The completed building is 80,000 sqft, though it was designed to be expanded by adding additional bays. The building as constructed has 9 lines of structure, producing 8 bays.

The Patscenter falls into a lineage of buildings that produce a generic, open, flexible space. Rogers describes his design for the Patscenter as a section. Though the structure acts in section, the space that structure produces, the box below, is generic. The primary effect of this structure doesn’t appear in section, it appears in plan. It produces large open spaces.

Our proposal uses the requirement to double the existing building to test Rogers’ claim.

In our proposal, all enclosed, specific spaces move to the level of the roof. Each box is associated with a different program: meeting room, kitchen, bathroom, corporate archives, a public cafe, etc. Each box contains its own circulation and is accessed from below. For instance, a spiral stair leads to a meeting room. A two-stop hydraulic lift accesses the corporate archives. And a set of auditorium seating leads out onto the roof. Each stair is suspended from the structure above.

Some boxes deliver light to the deeper sections of the floor slab. The cafe, for instance, lifts off the roof, allowing space for clerestory windows. Some boxes simply deliver dramatic spaces. The atrium is a triple height and cantilevers over the building’s edge to produce an entry.

Each box delivers something different to the space below. This is how we see ourselves as entering a conversation with Rogers’ original structure.

1/ In Rogers’ design, the ceiling delivers services (such as HVAC and electric lighting) to the space below. In our proposal, these services now include meeting spaces, auditorium, light, entry spaces, etc.

2/ In Roger’s design, the column free space allows for the walls to be reconfigured with minimal regard to structure. In our proposal, moving all enclosed space to the roof frees the ground level of all partitions.

The roof becomes a village of individual structures, little buildings, each with their own programs, light qualities, means of circulation, users, etc.