Allston Performing Art Center
The Allston Performing Art Center is my third semester studio at GSD, with studio critic Professor Jonathan Levi.
The site is at the outer boundary of Allston, a vague area in the metro-Boston region waiting for an active engagement for its self-identity and future direction. The proposed program is an unusual but intriguing combination of performing art center for the Allston community and a daycare center. Going beyond meeting the given program, the ambition of the design is to assign a visual identity to the locality and serve as space for the public use by the local community. The courtyard in the center is specially such an instrument for the merging of the public and private sectors.
The theaters have a double-hull configuration: Inside the inner hull are performing and seating areas. Between the inner and outer hulls are circulation and waiting areas. In the process of ascending from the main theater floor to the mezzanine level, fenestration on the outer hull provides the visitor a view of the surrounding scenery.
The facade of the theaters uses wood siding, a material widely used in house construction in the New England area. A vernacular material and its gentle appearance help to alleviate the monumentality of the theaters. The unitization of steel cladding renders a feeling of security and robustness required by programs such as kindergarten and suspended circulation. The juxtaposition of the two materials purposefully forms a contrast between their different characters.