Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies

The site for this architectural research center imagines the footprint of the Palazzo Massimi in Rome (including its two courtyards) to be transposed onto the upper two floors of a building in Lower Manhattan. The program includes a reception area, exhibition gallery, lecture hall, library, offices, studio and two apartments for visiting scholars.

This project explores two fundamental attitudes about space—the traditional poché plan of discrete rooms and the modern free plan of discrete objects—to resolve a complex program on a highly idiosyncratic site. Rather than rely on one strategy exclusively, it attempts to use both simultaneously. A grid generated by the rear wall mediates between the two major grids set by the courtyards, and sponsors a superimposed square which becomes the primary perceptual frame of reference. Within this visual matrix, historical fragments are disposed both as space–defining elements and as references to the project’s precedent.