For my final project in studio, I was tasked to design public seating for Tompkins Square Park—a site I’ve been studying all semester. Using my site observations, interviews and research, I identified a problem relating to the influx of college students as NYU enriches into East Village. Initially, I designed seating specifically targeted for college students as work space. After peer feedback and careful consideration, though, I realized that by designing something for an exclusive audience, I would be missing the biggest strength of a park as a platform for community and social cohesion. I made a few rapid 3D mock-ups, and quickly realized my mistake.
Stepping back, I decided to reframe my design as a workspace that encompass all audiences. I took one of the ideas I had developed from the 3D mock ups, and make orthographic projections of a curved desk with modular seating. I also identified the site where I wanted to set up to be within the park—an underused canopy in the East side of Tompkins, adjacent from the dog run. With these changes, I updated my design proposal to its final form.
After the orthographic drawing, I made a full-scale model of a segment of the table. I quickly realized, however, that my divisions were off. I increased the height and width of the table to make it more functional.
After receiving feedback on the sterile quality of my design, I decided to incorporate greenmails to my final scale model.
Lastly, I created a 3D rendering of the chair to overlay with a photograph of my intended site.
Finally, I made storyboards of potential interactions with my seat.
For my final project, I had to turn the process of creating Project 4 into a book with a reflection and design path. The PDF is bellow.
The Design process for Curve Space took many winding paths. After researching Tompkins
Square Park through site and historical observation, the original problem I identified was the changing
climate of the area due to growing presence of colleges such as NYU. My initial
ideas to solve this problem were to create seating that facilitated this influx of students, however, I
was heavily missing the mark on the inherent inclusivity of parks. Eventually, through more
research and intense iterative design, I reached what would become the idea for my final
design—Curve Space. After receiving feedback from my peers, I adjusted some of the
dimensions of the seating and added green materiality to soften the otherwise rigid feel.
Curve Space is public workspace for all park goers, and as such it solves a much
larger problem in the city. With buildings and spaces becoming increasingly private, there
are very few opportunities for social cohesion across all of NYC’s demographics. What
Curve Space offers is the same environment a library would provide, just in the park. As the
idea evolved, I realized that wifi would need to be included in the layout to fully accommodate
a modern working environment, so I added a potential partnership with the NYPL to fulfill this.
I think in the future, I imagine my design becoming modular so that public spaces all around NYC
can add a public working space to their area. I think the one weak consideration for this design, and really any park
design for that matter, is it’s decreasing usefulness when weather becomes extreme. Perhaps in the future, either a
better location or more strategic design could make Curve Space more inhabitable during winter, rain, etc.