Institute for Fluid Weights and Measures

Course:  ARCH 4020 | Architectural Design IV | Spring 2011

Critic:  Nana Last

Program:  “Institute for Fluid Weights and Measures.”

The brief for this project called for the creation of an “Institute for Fluid Weights and Measures” to be sited at the north end of the High Line at the corner of 30th Street and 10th Avenue in New York.  Based upon explorations of infinite space within a finite object through iterative painting early in the semester,  the Institute is rooted in the assertion that unit-based measurement is arbitrary and meaningless. By limiting our perception and experience of the world to the proscribed units and terms that we are taught, we are missing out on a myriad of possible understandings of the universe we occupy, and these can be discovered only through the subjective interpretation of reading one system against a second system.

With its mission to subvert established units and terms in pursuit of new ways of seeing and understanding, the conceptual institute occupies the liminal space between the ground plane of the city and the relocated ground plane of the high line. The intervention is a construct composed of concrete frames, scaffolding, and tension cables that takes inspiration from infrastructure in the area.  As a framework to which no particular program is assigned, the intervention is a system that, through installations and occupation, is constantly reconstituted and reinterpreted, thereby perpetuating the mission of the institute itself.

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