Art Network and Social Hinge

Dia Red Hook Museum, Brooklyn, NY

This is an architecture design research project that consists of concept design, experience design, urban studies, material and structural research and innovation. I engaged inspirations from biological structures, design approaches using parametric tools in Rhino3D Grasshopper and AutoDesk Maya, and advanced 3D printing.

Red Hook is transforming from an old industrial neighborhood to an artists' community. Art studios, galleries and social eateries re-occupied vacant industrial lots and formulated an art network along the coast and Van Burnt St. Dia Art Museum is the social hinge of the art network, which locates at the crucial intersection of the network and attracts local artists to the community.

The museum is not only closely attached to the local neighborhood, but also visually connects Red Hook with other parts of New York City across the harbor. It intends to bring visitors outside Brooklyn to join local art activities. Three artists are featured by Dia Art Foundation in this museum -- Anish Kapoor, Roxy Paine and Tara Donovan. The sequence of artists' galleries is defined by the nature of the artist, the art, and the how visitors experience the art works.

Concept Design


Experience Design

Spatial experience determines internal forms. My design process particularly focuses on the interaction between artworks and viewers. The museum features three main galleries, each for one of the three artists. I start from the characteristics of the artist's work, imagine viewers interaction with the artworks, and engage experience design to augment viewers interaction.

"Approaching" Gallery - Anish Kapoor: Viewers appreciate the dynamic form of the large-scale artwork from distance, as they approach the gallery, the form amplified to emphasize the reflection and materiality of its surfaces. The motion of Approaching is the most efficient way to experience the artworks.
"Within/Exploring" Gallery - Roxy Paine: The artworks are featured by their complex branches which represent tension and strength. Viewers are encouraged to walk Within the artworks and Explore their inner spatial moments. The gallery carries the similar character as the artworks, where the interior and exterior are intertwined. It allows a view overlooking the Sculpture Garden.
"Overwhelming" Gallery - Tara Donovan The artworks create unique Overwhelming spatial atmosphere. They are best displayed and experienced in an enclosed and intimate space that surrounds the viewers. The topology form also contains a theater which shares the similar spatial quality.

Experience Design

Design Solutions

Design Solution Design Solution

Material and Structure Research

Architectural Systems in the museum are developed based on the micro-biological study of lotus seeds. In nature the system performs as water containing and transporting systems of plants in cold and dry climate with two parameters change - thickening and aperture. Architecturally, the system has been recreated and tested for various engineering and mechanical functions. The thickening feature, as it's structural in nature, has the potential to work the similar way as form-active and space-truss structural systems. The aperture feature, as it's porous for water transportation in natural, has the potential to become light filter or porosity of the building envelop. Both features together create a new architectural language, transform into various architectural functions throughout the building envelope and small scale occupiable spaces.

Bio Structure Research Bio Structure Research