Here is another competition entry for my portfolio, this one for the Flat Lot competition hosted by the Flint Public Art Project. This was the first of two collaborative efforts between Kesra Mansuri, Dimitri Polychronopolous and myself, the second of which was Kinected Shingles, which I posted earlier this week. The competition brief asked entrants to “design and build a temporary structure reimagining the central surface parking lot in downtown Flint. Entrants were asked to provide seating, shade, cooling, and other amenities to support the many public programs at the Flat Lot, and to create new opportunities for residents and visitors to gather downtown.” Our entry, Tensile Cloud, proposed a reconfigurable rope canopy, suspended from existing lampposts (as well as several additional poles) and held in tension by hundreds of circular connection pieces. Tensile Cloud was chosen as a semifinalist, placing it in the top twenty projects out of over 200 proposals.
Tensile Cloud is an amorphous pavilion suspended over an ambiguous site. The Flat Lot is a blank canvas on an urban scale, a parking lo that wants to be a public gathering place. The parking lines provide structure, but within the resulting grid the lot is indeterminate. The proposed pavilion is a reaction to the site, and is therefore defined by conflicting desires. The scale of the lot requires a large pavilion, but the footprint is limited to only eight parking spaces during the day. The desire for uniformity between the pavilion’s constituent modules is balanced with the need to differentiate between the various programs. Functions and spaces blend together. Even the spatial organization is just one of many possible configurations.