MULTI SPECIE HOTEL
This project proposes the redesign of New York's Park Lane Hotel as a vertical habitat. Questioning the human-centric nature of architecture, it engages with potential material and spatial qualities that can emerge from the consideration of animals in the design of buildings. As Central Park's animal species, and their associated environments, are invited onto and into the hotel it enrichens spatially, programmatically and experientially.
Tutor: Kostas Grigoriadis
Park Lane reimagined, front elevation
Park Lane reimagined, vertical habitat segment
Park Lane reimagined, new room order
Physical model, acrylic and PLA, 25 x 57 x 65 cm
Physical model, acrylic and PLA, 25 x 57 x 65 cm
In the new Park Lane Hotel a series of passages for animals and vessels for vegetation, water, and soil, are distributed vertically across the building's facade. A structure penetrates the building and corrupts the existing floor plan internally, replacing in certain parts, columns, walls and floor slabs.
Based on proximity to the alteration, and its intensity, a new order of rooms emerges. Guests can inhabit rooms that remain unaltered, rooms with minor intrusions, partially naturalized or fully naturalized rooms. At its most extreme, the hotel offers guests an opportunity to co-inhabit space with animals, unmediated through hard boundaries, barriers and screens.
A space that is filled with life. Senses are heightened by the sights sounds and smells of animals and their associated environments. A space where one can crawl, climb and move freely through space, reconnecting to the animal that has been lost within.
Animals perceive space differently then us, from different vantage points and in different scales. they navigate through it differently and they require a different set of conditions to survive in it. In an attempt to understand how animals respond to artificial constructs we transcend our own ways of thinking. As our vantage point shifts between human and non-human we questions our methods of design and qualities that have been predominantly exempt from the built environment emerge. Animal space, is a deep space, its multi layered, multi scalar, tactile and highly sensual. And although designed with animals in mind, simultaneously generate tremendous value for people.
QUESTIONING ABSOLUTE BOUNDARIES
The hotel sits on the clear line, which demarcates where Central Park ends and where the city begins. Architecture, with its currcompartmentalisation of space also fragments and excludes habitats, prevents access and freedom of movement for animals.
From a material perspective, flat smooth and impermeable surfaces which characterise the available formats of concrete, glass and steel remain uninhabited and clean over time. These make up the hotels façade and provide it with a hermetic seal.
From within, guests are provided with comfortably sanitary rooms and unobstructed breathtaking views of the park. At the same time, they are also generic and very much detached from the rich context in which they reside. Alternatively, the project proposes to extend the park experience beyond that of the image. To invite some of the parks species and their associated environments into the hotel in order to enrich it spatially, programmatically and experientially.
Spatial compartmentalization / habitat fragmentation
Smooth and impermeable materiality
LEARNING FROM ZOOS
To better our understanding of the role architecture plays in mediating our relationship to animals we can look at zoos. These have developed as a unique typology, which embodies not only a growing body of knowledge concerning the needs of animals but also shifting societal attitudes towards how we like to experience captive animals. Having visited the London zoo I identified three conditions which characterize this type of architecture and feed into the projects design:
First, a conditions of spatial collapse. Within the walls of the zoo environments traditionally considered as exterior are interiorized and vast distances of space and time collapse onto a single site. While penguins swim in ice cold waters only a few hundred meters away primates swing from tree to tree in tropical rainforest conditions.
ZSL site study, distribution of zoogeographic regions, key periods and animal house timeline
Secondly, boundaries and interfaces are dominant features in zoos. At the giraffe house, giraffes can be seen form the top of an elevated foot bridge. Visitors can co-inhabit the steel structure of the Snowdon aviary with large birds. Reptiles can be seen from behind glass vitrines lining the walls of the historic reptile house. And last, ropes designate walking paths for humans at the inflatable butterfly paradise walk through exhibit.
Finally, in the zoo the real natural and the authentic fake become indistinguishable. This can be seen in its various heavily naturalized environments as well as in the unique construction method of artificial rock making.
ZSL animal house study, boundaries sectioned and specie info
Immersion exhibits have been the best practice in zoo design for the past decades. In their design one must study, analyze and experience a specie's habitat of origin before attempting to recreate it as a more suitable enclosure for animals as well as an experiential, sensual and immersive environment for visitors. Yet zoos also promote a certain understanding of animals. In them they are always exhibited in isolation as curiosities from distant lands devoid of human context. But what about the animals that are already around; the ones in our parks our streets and our buildings?
At the Park Lane Hotel an aerial, an aquatic, a terrestrial and an underground environments meet. It is situated between city and park. In the city we have a handful of species who have managed to thrive by appropriating artificial structures and architectural elements as well as available food resources. At the same time the park is home to hundreds of species, both permanent and migratory – local and introduced.
Identifying twelve interconnected representative species, their relationship to one another as well as their physical distribution within our site. The European starling, for example, nests in cavities that posses an opening of 10 centimeters or less and they are insectivores. They feed on insects such as the milkweed bug, another species we identified, which possesses its own set of habitat requirements. Thus habitat can be designed. It consists of physical features addressing shelter as well as a system of interdependencies amongst species.
Spatial distribution of species on site
Interdependencies amongst identified species
If the orthogonal abrupt compartmentalization of space, its regularity and smooth and impermeable materiality exclude animals than an architecture of habitat would perhaps be characterized by continuous surfaces, a diversity and irregularity of formations, a highly textured and porous materiality and multi-scalar space providing shelter to a multitude of species both larger and smaller than human.
Animal shelters & specie requirements
Starling nesting cavities, concrete sample cast from 3d printed mold
So how can we produce geometrically complex and highly textured elements? The project revisists the construction method of artificial rock
making through digital design and fabrication means.
From a fabrication perspective It explored how qualities of surface porosity can be achieved in concrete via analog means such as dissolvable salt granulates. Varying degrees of surface porosity can be achieved by changing pore sizes and pore distribution patterns. These can be then digitally scanned for further evaluation, manipulation and application onto elements. A multi-scalar population strategy is distributed on the hotels façade and translates into a new structure. It is comprised of prefabricated concrete elements cast from dissolvable 3d-printed formwork.
Exploring qualities of surface porosity in concrete using dissolvable salt granulates
Digitizing materiality and application onto 3d elements
Initial element, concrete cast in dissolved 3d formwork, 20 x 15 x 8 cm
Large interlocking element, concrete cast in dissolved 3d formwork, 50 x 40 x 30 cm
Structure formation & segmentation