Main Concourse, Grand Central Terminal
Main Concourse, Grand Central Terminal
Project description

Transient Seam inhabits forms an adjacency to Grand Central Terminal, providing a place of sanctuary amidst the intense flows of Manhattan. The island metropolis operates at speed, driven by the urgency and efficiency of commerce.  Intensified by the current pandemic, New Yorkers are ever more in need for a space of solace in the city, an escape from the crowd. Responding to the social context by offering a series of intimate spaces, of pause and reflection, linked and bridged together by a vertical perambulation that leads to an enclosed garden.  

The architecture of Transient Seam is, itself an outcome bridging and wandering. Manhattan seems to be as real in fiction as it is in reality. Grand Central, like a chimera, holds numerous identities and so the project was drawn out of a survey that sought to blur readings - both measured and experienced. In doing so, Grand Central was interrogated through a form of cartographic perambulation through which an architecture of connections and bridging has emerged.

Nestled within a perforated husk is a curation of spaces that cater to different acts of sanctuary, each offering a different purpose and feeling. They are moments of tranquility deep within the bustling city. The architecture is a journey through these spaces that bridges from the energy of the concourse below to the calm of the garden above.

Overview of Transient Seam
Axonometric view of the architecture situated in the immediate landscape of the island of Manhattan. The aerial shot on the left showcases the unique height difference between Grand Central and its parterre landscape.
Elevation of Transient Seam
The architecture introduces itself embedded within the columns of the balcony in the Main Concourse. A subtle invitation contrasting the architecture that awaits.
Acts of Sanctuary

The architecture presents itself as a journey through bridging and wandering. A series of spaces are curated along the journey to foster various acts of sanctuary. As there is no single definition as to what is the best means of escaping the urban life, different people will turn to different activities as their form of sanctuary. The journey takes you through the building vertically, starting from the Main Concourse, from extracting the energy from the concourse below to reach a calm environment in the rooftop garden. Each space carries a different energy catering to different acts of sanctuary.

Axonometric view of Transient Seam
Elevation of Transient Seam expand
Elevation of Transient Seam
Stairs bridging the terminal and Transient Seam
Section through Transient Seam expand
North-South Section through Transient Seam
[Spacing out] : Rooftop garden

At the end of the vertical perambulation is a rooftop garden with falling water that continues vertically back down the architecture. The space is curated as an intimate space in the bustling city which offers a moment for tranquility and serenity. Benches are designed to recline at an angle which coincides with the height of the garden wall to frame a view of the sky and clouds. It is an invitation to be in touch with the exterior environment and to be able to just sit, stare and let the imagination run.

[Spacing Out] Rooftop Garden

The rooftop garden is designed with the intention to provide a place of solace and tranquility in the midst of a bustling New York City. With the architecture wedged in the city among the surrounding skyscrapers, the garden seeks to rekindle the relationship between people and sky, a relationship that seems to have been drowned by the towering mega-structures in the city. Introducing the element of water in the architecture allows for city dwellers to re-engage with the external environment lost in the concrete jungle of New York. Movement of the water adds introduces a sensory element when experiencing the tranquility of the architecture.

Detail sectional model of the rooftop garden in isolation
Detail sectional model of the rooftop garden.
Leaving Transient Seam
Leaving Grand Central Terminal, E 43rd Street, New York City

To simulate what would have been captured on the site of the ticket booth in the terminal, a set of drawing protocols have taken the place of on-site surveying. Sandler’s photograph is translated into a drawing through a drawing process of projection tracing. Instead of people moving, the projector perched on some books are tilted and turned, while the angle of the drawing table is adjusted as well. This resulted in a single drawing with multiple reflections of the same photograph.

Plane Table Drawing expand
Plane Table Drawing
new-Chimera Landscape

The new-Chimera Landscape is the alternative landscape territory that exists in a fictional universe in place of Grand Central Terminal. It is the outcome of putting the previous Plane Table Drawing through the process of extrusion. The elements in the drawing are extruded and made into three-dimensional objects sized in relation to the single ticket booth. Given the fact that we are currently heavily reliant on the use of computer models to collaborate between countries. Extruding the drawing into a thee-dimensional computer model allows the four of us to use this model as the new landscape where the Chambers are situated.

new-Chimera Landscape
Chamber in-situ expand
Bridging Fragments

The Chamber is developed by adopting fragments of the landscape as stepping stones that forms the base of the journey - structurally and spatially. Assuming the new-Chimera landscape is of a solid materiality, the Chamber is a series of lightweight structures that are carefully placed to curate a journey through this new topography.

Chamber expand
A Nook of Serenity

The chamber serves as a nook of serenity amongst the almost chaotic new-Chimera landscape and Grand Central Terminal. Isolation of the Chamber floating above the terminal below allows dwellers to enjoy the moment of quiet and serenity whilst still sharing the same space as the energized terminal below.

Materiality of the chamber is based on drawing from the existing Grand Central Terminal as a material quarry. In order to keep the structure lightweight, the main structure will be steel, where as all the other surfaces where touchable will be wood. Taking into account the possible dynamic temperature fluctuations, wood as a surface to touch and sit on will be more skin-friendly.

Student list
open list

Architecture - MArch

student list
close list