MIT  Core 2019

The Fiction of the "Y"

In 1969, Archizoom proposed the nonstop city, an infinite grid with elemental programs, subdivided by partial lines of walls, and interrupted only by natural features, as an instrument of emancipation to free the residences with its blankness, its featurelessness, and its endless connectivity.

Similarly, Superstudio, at the same time, proposed the continuous mountain, attempted to understand the nature of architectural continuity, where the world is rendered uniform by technology, culture, and all the other inevitable forms of influence.

In both cases, the constitution of the city is simplified to be an infinite interior, subdivided by partial walls. Domestic programs are flatted and displayed in juxtaposition with what was inherent from nature, such as mountains and lakes.

For this particular project, the building of the YMCA in Coney Island is confronted with a rich regional history, a bizarre human-made nature, a haphazard planning past, and a unique yet complex cultural program. In this case, perhaps the Y is just a continuation of what is pre-existing on the island. After all, if a city can be an infinite interior, the building of the Y can certainly be reduced to a container for programs and a connector among features from the natural exterior.

The roof and the facade of the Y are semi-transparent, with glowing light from within, radically differentiate itself from its towering context. Although the building attempts to reach both the horizontal and the vertical, the boundary of the Y is subjectively expressed by its program - which speaks to an immersive infinity. As part of the urban assemblage of Coney Island's delirious and fantastical world, the Y becomes a spectacle.