Core Architecture Studio I
Houston St. – W 30th St.
W 152nd St. – W 184th St.
W 120th St. – W 152nd St.
Columbus Circle – W 87th St.
W 87th St. – W 120th St.
W 184th St. – 220th St.
Battery Pl. – Houston St.
W 30th St. – Columbus Circle
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Core Architecture Studio I

The Grand Interior

Today, digital technologies are undeniably modifying the way we use and live in the city. Due to the actual cyber reality, the classic dichotomies between public-private, collective-individual, night-day spaces… that characterized a great part of the architectural discourse of the twentieth century, have lost their connotation. Today, Architecture cannot be understood detached from an interconnected reality, where buildings, more than isolated entities, are part of a larger system of common spaces and services that link the micro with the macro, having consequences on the social, the economical and the environmental at large.

The increasing mix among public and private spheres, allows us to think of the world as a continuous interior or following Sloterdijk’s image as a ‘grand interior’, an endless domestic landscape defined by spaces, objects and technologies, where the public space is being redefined, moving from the archetype of the street—as the paradigm of the common—to a more complex situation where public and private merge all along the city. In this scenario, the home is also becoming part of this public realm.

This new public condition might be an opening to rethink preset architectural limits and urban classifications that were used to assure benefit in detriment of social rights. Architecture has been traditionally used as a tool to define and perpetuate colonial processes. It is an effective agent of restraint able to assure the power of certain social sectors over others. It is not neutral and it might consequently be perceived as such. Not only has the division of public private has been a driving force for the development of biased social structures, but also other processes of urban planning and building.

In Core I, we understand the shift of public space as an invitation to redefine social structures for a better common welfare. We address the course looking to our actual and close reality, taking the everyday life of Broadway Avenue, Manhattan, as a starting point and base for an architectural proposal. We look at buildings and their urban context, understanding the quotidian as a platform for a deeper research that allows us to comprehend the complexity of the built realm, its actual functioning and requirements in relation to economic, climatic, environmental, social and political issues. And we design Architectures that answer to those realities: transgressing, empowering, complementing, … existing networked spaces. We produce architecture from the urban towards the detail, from the drawing towards the construction, and during that path we always foster graphical, formal and material experimentation as an intrinsic part of the design process.

The animation pans across a drawing of New York City’s Broadway stretching the length of Manhattan Island collectively authored by first-year Master of Architecture students during the Fall 2020 Core I studio. You can also view the entire drawing here.
Houston St. – W 30th St.
The studio employed a lens of historical criticality while analyzing Broadway and its surroundings from Houston Street to 30th Street. The region—comprising three historical districts: Noho, Flatiron, and Madison Square North—was approached through temporal overlays. The studio was guided by pivotal events spanning from Broadway as a thoroughfare originally known as the Wesquaegeek Trail, to the 300 acres of African-owned farms known as Land of the Blacks under Dutch colonial rule centered around present-day Washington Square Park, and the East Village/Noho artist movement of the 1980s in which artists shifted the public consciousness. Through orthographic cuts, students dissected history as a stack, understanding the flow of placement and displacement of land and belonging in the horizontal plane. The studio theme, Cutting Through, sought to unveil and reveal historical and contemporary truths hiding in plain sight. Students presented concepts utilizing the architectural convention of the cut. Namely, they used horizontal and vertical cuts to reveal the significance of their conceptual provocations on public space.
Students: Ali Ahmed, Marcus Chan, Brennan Heyward, Shining Hong, Kelly Lee, Jixuan Li, Madeleine Sung, Jing-Chwen Tzeng, Sam Velasquez, Phoenix Yang, Elaine Yu
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Pathway at Bleecker
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Serendipity P(erformance)
Serendipity P is a public space intervention that celebrates the multiplicity of public, spontane...
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Rugged CIty
This project opens up the ground-floor commercial space of a building in downtown New York and co...
W 152nd St. – W 184th St.
Manhattan Island has been likened to a charged vector, with weighted significance to its southern “pole”: the symbolic, historic, and financial gateway to the Western Hemisphere. Washington Heights, which culminates at the George Washington Bridge’s maelstrom, is itself the Northern Gateway—the inverted “other” axis—that extends inland from Harlem to Albany. Like some ghosted opposing force, the “weight” of the North remains somewhat unexpressed in our mainstream imagination—until now. Like Dark Matter, which is expressed in ways both enigmatic and outside the mainstream convention, this area—often referred to as the Little Dominican Republic—holds potential for a completely other type of urbanism: one of “inverted” values, expectations, and spatiality to that of the late-capitalist, hegemonically White, metropolis. The Heights is perhaps the most densely “built up” manifestation of the Manhattan grid. Could a starting point of strategies such as removal, subtraction, digging, or undisciplining the Commissioner’s Grid lead to generative urbanism, rooted in sovereignty and the flourishing of life? Borrowing this analogy to physics as a starting point, this studio’s section of Broadway—and indeed, the narrow strip of Manhattan which surrounds it—will serve as inspiration for the exploration of a “Dark” (Black, North, Other…) Spatial Imaginary. Historical polarities include slave uprisings (1712 and 1741) and Crack/BLM Protests (1992 and today), shallow and deep section; north and south, and others will aid us in this endeavor.
Students: Amina Amer, Enrique Bejarano, Laura Blaszczak, Yiyi Gao, Kortney Hinden, Isaac Khouzam, Aaron Smolar, Zoe Su, Kaixi Tu, Chi Chi Wakabayashi
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Fugitive Architecture
Embedded in the fabric of the alleyways, making its way into the streets, I aimed to create a new...
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Networked Urban Connection Through Nested Scales
I was inspired by the work of Torkwase Dyson and her concept of the “hyper-shape.” For me, this m...
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Woven Street
How can activities that are bound to the street be challenged? My design creates a bottom-up syst...
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New Old New York
My project imagines the city as geology, subject to erosion and sedimentation: urban forms out of...
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Fabulating Spatio-Historical Archaeologies
This project rejects the inherently unjust Enlightenment carceral paradigm, the traces of which a...
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The Temple of the Moving Crates
Just like the George Washington Bridge Bus terminal is an agglomeration of the automobile, the in...
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Breaking the Manhattan Grid
The Manhattan grid controls Washington Heights both economically and politically. This project ai...
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A Place to Sit, A Space to Be
My project uses the chair and other fragments of living otherwise found on the streets of Washing...
W 120th St. – W 152nd St.
The studio focuses on surveying urban voids, accumulating pattern interruptions manifested in abandoned lots in-between buildings, interstitial areas, and terrains adjacent to infrastructures. Urban voids have a direct relationship to major ideological and aesthetical shifts in urban planning and architectural thinking since the late 1960s, culminating in the gentrification of neighborhoods and the continuous spatial re-arrangement of African American communities. In the context of Harlem, a place that once thrived in literature, music, and the arts promoting the cultural movement named Harlem Renaissance between 1910-1930, these tactics continue to significantly impact the availability of housing and public space for the local communities. Once an aesthetical shift is manifested, landlords and developers began marketing and renovating to appeal to wealthier occupants’ tastes. The SOHA (South Harlem) controversy is one example, generating the next exodus of neighbors to more affordable neighborhoods. Students investigated the history of these interruptions, using overlapping techniques of past and new ownership. What and who generated the urban voids? To whom did these plots of land belong before becoming unused? How can they be engaged today as a transcalar resource for local communities of predominantly Latinx and African Americans?
Students: Sam Bager, Megan Dang, Yingxi Dong, Ruonan Du, Justin Hager, Alex He, Julie Kim, Myungju Ko, Thiago Lee, Khadija ann Tarver, Mingyue Zhang, Stephen Zimmerer
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West Harlem Community Loop
The primary scope of this project looks through the lens of food education. These community-owned...
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Harlem Business Alliance Center
Located in Columbia University’s parking lot, the project collaborates with Harlem Business Allia...
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Urban Playground
In West Harlem, 15% of students in public schools are homeless, 82% of them live in a “Doub...
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Manhattanville Mall
The Manhattanville Mall project revisits the paradigm of infrastructure and what it means to be p...
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Elevated Tension
Elevated Tension promotes a healthy lifestyle through urban farming, nutritional education, and f...
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Harlem Community Playscape
A large percentage of the resident demographic in NYCHA-owned public housing developments are fam...
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Adult Education Campus
In response to the high unemployment rate amongst residents of NYCHA, this project proposes a cam...
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Community Clubhouse
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Emergent Harvest
Three violences of attrition committed between 1975 and 1985 caused unemployment and poverty to b...
Columbus Circle – W 87th St.
In 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower turned earth to start construction on a new cultural center in New York City, the Lincoln Center. The project, which was part of Robert Moses’s urban renewal program, displaced over 7,000 families and 800 businesses. The area, previously called San Juan Hill, was a vibrant and culturally important neighborhood. It was populated first by African-Americans moving from both the southern US and other areas of New York City, and later by Puerto Ricans. The urban renewal project displaced 56% of the community. Most of those who stayed were relocated into the new public housing development, Amsterdam Houses. Similar to other NYCHA projects, the dwellings were formalized as a set of residential towers in a superblock with almost no urban services. The isolation of the complex reflects the challenges of public housing today that struggle with preset sharp physical and economic boundaries. Taking Amsterdam Houses as a paradigm, students in this studio researched and responded to existent urban boundaries that boost social and racial inequalities along the Upper West Side.
Students: Priscilla Auyeung, Younjae Choi, Lucas de Menezes Pereira, Kerol Kaskaviqi, Michael Lau, Ari Nadrich, Jackie Pothier, Emma Sumrow, Jordan Trager, Jinghan Wang, Yuli Wang
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Jazz at Lincoln Square
This project is a network of artist lofts, workshop studios, and exhibition spaces aiming to re-e...
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Belonging Hub
This proposal is a hub for first-generation college students in the Upper West Side of New York. ...
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Rethinking Social Boundaries through Passive Design
This project questions the visual social boundaries that exist in both sides of Amsterdam Avenue....
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Recasting the Collective
Recasting the Collective breaks down both physical and nonphysical boundaries of the Amsterdam Ho...
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Corridors of Care
This new urban typology provides a sheltered, climate-controlled space for delivery workers to re...
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Upper West Side Mobile School
The research-based project focused on the public schools in the Upper West Side of New York City....
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Broadway Stories: NYC Media Collaborative
The NYC Media Collaborative Pop-Up, where locals can exert their own agency, will renegotiate wha...
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Broadway Stories
The intention of the geodesic dome structure is to allow for maximum solar exposure to each apart...
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Reimagination of Amsterdam Houses
The project tackles boundary conditions that occur around Amsterdam Houses. I intend to create a ...
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Bubble of After School
The project is a proposed web of after school programs scattered around in the Upper West Side, c...
W 87th St. – W 120th St.
Columbia University’s presence dominates the northern portion of this stretch of Broadway and several blocks to the east and west. The university’s strained history with the Black and Hispanic communities of Harlem and Morningside Heights is rooted in a competition for space. The ongoing tension centers around the ability of local residents to maintain control over their living and recreational space in the face of the significant power the university wields as a landlord and through its incremental campus expansion. In 1968 opposition to the Vietnam War and the recent killing of Martin Luther King had already raised tensions on campus when student outrage was triggered by the start of construction of a new $11 million 2.2-acre gym for Columbia students in Morningside Park, the 13-block long public park, a boundary line between the campus and neighboring communities to the east. The building’s two entrances—one for students above and a second small entry for local residents below—set up the segregated intent of the gym and reinforced the broader separation between the university and surrounding communities. This history provided the context for the studio’s exploration of Morningside Park as the area for the invention of new and inclusive formulations for public space.
Students: Zina Berrada, Eleanor Birle, Maxine Gao, Joachym Joab, Kim Langat, Nicolas Nefiodow Pineda, Maclane Regan, Nicolas Shannon, Wenjing Tu, Peter Walhout
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Gradual Social_Scape
Gradual Social_Scape provocatively reshapes Morningside Park to make it a safe, inviting, and con...
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Navigable Schoolyard
This project reimagines the northernmost edge of Morningside Park, transforming rocky and steep t...
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Soft Edge
Located along the perimeter of Morningside Park, this project aims to create a soft and accessibl...
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Absent Memorabilia
This project proposes a pavilion space over Morningside Park Pond. The pond is the result of the ...
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Liminal Learning
Liminal Learning takes what is an otherwise underutilized, unsafe, and dark space of Morningside ...
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Manhattan 2020
This section diagram highlights empty residential units on a city block in Morningside Heights, c...
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Pixels and Protest
An activated network of digital activism infringes upon the jurisdictional fabric of the institut...
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In the Air
Four mesh platforms sit in the park as leveled-up reconnections between Morningside Heights and H...
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Augmented Amphitheater
Morningside Pond, a palimpsest of toxicity, the site of Columbia’s halted gymnasium project and n...
W 184th St. – 220th St.
The highly choreographed infrastructural systems of Lower Manhattan become frayed in our zone. Northern Manhattan has historically functioned at the City’s fringe. Visible power stations, surface parking, elevated subways, original homesteads, and natural landscapes all characterize our section of the City. From the City’s inception, the resources of Upper Manhattan have largely been dedicated to the function and supremacy of Lower Manhattan. Northern Manhattan’s subordinate role to its prodigal southern neighbor isn’t something that evolved by chance; it was designed and has been reinforced through zoning and public policy for centuries. Despite this structural inequity, the neighborhoods of Inwood and Washington Heights coalesced and thrived within the informality and resource scarcity. Known as the Little Dominican Republic, the neighborhoods are home to a significant Latinx population. A recent up-zoning of the area now puts the existing communities at risk of becoming the next frontier of gentrification and cultural erasure. This studio’s challenge was to plan a more just and public approach to the site’s growth, cultivating its assets to the benefit of the existing and future populations in a new Grand Interior.
Students: Saba Ardeshiri, Rebecca Faris, Anne Freeman, Shuyang Huang, Cecile Kim, Charlie Liu, Jonghoon Park, Nara Radinal, Christopher Scheu, Seung Ho Shin, Linru Wang
Broadway Medical Center Extension Plaza
The plaza functions as a hybrid extension of the sidewalk; it provides formal waiting spaces and ...
Compost Retrofit for NYC Sanitation
Broadway is in many ways a dividing line between the east and west sides of Inwood, revealing a r...
Reimagining the Public School Playground
The project is a physical hybrid model which integrates children’s playground with parking lots, ...
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The New Public Podium
The project is a typological intervention that resists the impending eradication of culture and a...
Inwood Arcs
Inwood Arcs intends to create an urban theatre emphasizing on daily commoning that would stitch t...
Battery Pl. – Houston St.
Lower Manhattan is a dense layering of historic and contemporary spaces and events enmeshed in the creation and protection of value. Along Broadway from Battery Park to Houston, clusters of buildings are currently designated as civic, financial, or for manufacturing; some still representing a link to some of the area’s earliest land uses. Outside the wall, from which we now have Wall Street, used to be The Commons and the African Burial Grounds, two landscapes that were part of everyday life in New York for nearly 200 years. Both sites of exploitation were physically external to New York City, but functioned as the primary means by which the internal prosperity of the city, private property, and material ownership, were enhanced. The studio researched the history and contemporary state of material extraction in architecture and its continued adjacency to the erasure of the contribution to the built environment by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Students examined how one site of accumulation along Broadway represents a reciprocal site of occlusion elsewhere. Furthering this analysis, students established a critical approach toward the deconstruction and reconfiguration of this accumulated stone, concrete, brick, steel or glass to ultimately propose a New Commons.
Students: Hallie Chuba, Min Soo Jeon, Jennah Jones, Roman Karki, Blake Kem, Hanyu Liu, Karen Polanco, Cemre Tokat, Karen Wang, Chiao Yang, Rose Zhang
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The Journey of Iron-Ore
The project is a memorial space to those who contributed to the iron industry. A concaved circula...
Re:Collection is a material processing laboratory constructed on the site of a demolition. Commun...
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Space-in-Progress (SIP): The Material Transformation of Terracotta and the Restoration of Democratic Space
In this project dedicated to material reorganization and sustainability, a framework for regenera...
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Speculative Spolia
In this project, spoliation is defined as found materials with an ingrained place identity. This ...
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Recasting Broadway
Recasting Broadway transforms ornament into usable space. A cast iron façade is removed and recas...
The Morphon
The Morphon is a symbiotic inhabitable typology that dwells on the scaffoldings that are used as ...
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A.I.R. is an open-source 24/7 facility for making. It deconstructs the bricks from the existing b...
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NYSE’s Public Offering
This project dismantles the obsolete granite stone facade of Wall Street financial education in o...
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Carbon Culture
Carbon Culture is a system that utilizes carbon capture and biosequestration to innovate, adapt, ...
W 30th St. –
Columbus Circle
Students researched the social and political history of commercial real estate development in Midtown Manhattan, focusing on specific typologies of commercial architecture and the forms of labor and consumption they have housed. Utilizing real estate listings and other published documentation wherever possible, students then proposed interventions in currently or prospectively vacant commercial spaces. The pandemic has accelerated the emptying of urban commercial space—already underway due to changing patterns of consumption, as well as speculative finance and real estate practices—prefiguring a future in which there are fewer collective commercial spaces—restaurants, stores, offices, etc.—and fewer jobs for the workers who service such spaces. Recognizing the racialized character of American capitalism, in which such labor is disproportionately performed by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, students proposed new uses for these spaces, utilizing speculative architectural design and representation to build support for alternative futures in which economic security is dissociated from precarious labor, a precondition of equity. Students confronted the limits of architecture, considering the example of the urban loft building, which became a frame for experiments in collective living and working and creative practice in the post-industrial period but also a vector for gentrification, displacement, and the ultimate commodification of those collectives and practices. How are shifting political, economic, and social structures manifest in both the literal, material form of buildings and in the immaterial labor of design? Can architecture—in either sense—contribute to the transformation of such structures? Ultimately, students questioned the assumption that it is, in fact, the role of architecture to speculate on the material conditions of the lives of others, reflecting on how such acts of speculation rest on disciplinary norms and practices that reinforce the privileges of whiteness, as well as gender and class. As they considered how architects might contribute to the construction of a more just and equitable society, they also questioned the labor of architecture itself—its tools, its discourses, its institutions, its aesthetics.
Students: Zoona Aamir, Qingning Cao, Daniel Chang, Kristen Fitzpatrick, Nanju Kim, Carley Pasqualotto, Anya Ray, Will Rose, Wei Xiao, Yifei Yuan, Sky Zhang, Zixiao Zhu
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The Paramount ‘Park’ Building
Times Square acts as an urban room, an anomaly of the city’s grid system, the space becomes...
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Interactive Factorial Museum for Garment District
My design is a synthesis consisting of factory, museum, and mall, including production, visiting,...
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Digital Refuge
Digital Refuge is a shelter from the hyper saturation of imagery as daily life becomes a constant...
Rethinking the Broadway Theater
The project focuses on redefining the typical Broadway theater experience through mobility and t...
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Health and Wellness Design Proposal for Subway Systems
In the heart of Midtown Manhattan, this design proposal aims at bringing back health and wellness...
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Circulation for Public Transit Space
Through surveying the NYC Port Authority Bus Terminal, this project seeks to address the poor cir...
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Midtown Collective Modular Housing
This project reimagines vacant office spaces in Midtown Manhattan as collective, modular housing ...
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Nonstop Manhattan
In response to the nature of the ever-evolving urban realm in Manhattan, the project aims to prov...
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Times Square Billboard Garden
This project describes the future of billboards in One Times Square. It proposes a vertical garde...
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Mental Health Hotel Resort
This project transforms the Seagram Building into a publicly funded hotel resort that provides fr...
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The New Autonomy
Following the development of fully autonomous factories is the full replacement of human labor. T...