Prospect New Orleans Headquarters
At the core of Prospect New Orleans is Art. Art in its most basic form, of many forms, is the two dimensional image; whether it is a photograph, drawing, or painting, the image is a part of art’s foundation. The site, the corner of Baronne and Lafayette, is an example of how we can perceive space through the amalgamation of such images. There is a visible build up of layers over time, and one could argue the city is created in this way, as an accumulation of horizontal images: from the sewer to the telephone pole. This project then seeks to turn these layering images vertically--what happens to a building when seen through this same series, or accumulation of images?

To achieve this experience, striating the building, and filtering its contents, I introduced two large screens which slice through the entire height of the building. These screens not only divide the space, and filter views but it is also a functioning component to the overall performance of the building. For one, images can be displayed and move through the floors blurring the typical definition of the plan. Secondly, the screens are made of a smart fabric which are embedded with phase change materials (pcm) and can therefore control the interior climate of the building. They are self sustaining, composed of solar cells which will then power the OLED function, as well as being self supported structurally. One screen is located centrally, adjacent to the cross-cutting open, public stair. the other screens the entries to the restrooms and works with the length of the building, it also creates a steel trellis for the roof garden.

Beyond these two main components, features of the same language and form appear throughout the building: pivoting ‘sail benches’ characterize the front lobby, where a full glass face is able to open up and remain protected under the cantilever. These sails are also composed of the smart fabric and multiplied to produce this filtering. Movable screen-walls in the office space allow for multiple configurations of meeting rooms as well as serve to mitigate the western exposure. Wooden blades also screen the Western facade on the second and third floors, and attached to these are banner- like smart screens which then power the rotating motor of the louvers.

The building is filtered or layered again from the exterior with a wrapping-fire stair, which creates a separate spatial zone where there is either stair or balcony composed of wooden decking. These are then enveloped in a green screen of thin metal rod suspended from the roof.

Structurally, the building was inspired by the idea of ecdysis, or shedding the skin. Looking at the structure of insects, the building molts its enveloping layer: by pushing the column line outside the curtain wall and exposing the ceiling structure, along with the overall transparency of the building, the guts of the program and tectonics are visible, and the structure rather than hidden within skin, is more like an exoskeleton.

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