For the 2016 Architectural League Folly competition, we submitted Counterpart, a reflection on the resolute nature of Socrates Sculpture Park as it commemorated its thirtieth year.

 

Ruminating on the park’s commitment to progressive change and introspection, our proposal formalizes a campus for the education corridor that is elevated by the parallel dialogue between two analog sets of shipping containers. Though of the same origin, Counterpart posits an inversion of these prosaic objects in an homage to the park’s humble roots and democratic resolve. It juxtaposes gritty, hardened steel with a translucent, flexible facade that espouses a willingness to adapt with evolving necessities as the education corridor expands its programming.

 

Purchased from New Jersey, selectively demolished on site, and fitted with simple, off-the-shelf corrugated polycarbonate, these containers act as threshold between the education corridor and the park at large, helping to define an edge for the former’s campus.

 

This new siting effectively creates an education quadrangle between Counterpart and the original shipping containers at the southern boundary of the park. In so doing, the ground between the four boxes is activated, simultaneously encouraging a multitude of uses across the existing educational nodes and the new, flexible space provided through Counterpart.

 
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The dialogue between these four pillars, however, is the foundation of our parti. We first considered the visual presence and palpable ethos of reuse and reclamation at Socrates, and envisioned a functional folly that celebrated the existing conditions on site. Shipping containers, as ubiquitous compartments for storage and transportation but also shelter and habitation,
are quintessentially sustainable and, indeed, quintessentially Socrates.

We considered the appearance and functionality of these compartments, and conceived of a juxtaposition between the banality of their opaque, drab coloration with a translucent and operable facade.

 
 

Collaborators: Alex Stewart, Mariam Alshamali