Memory Box

Adaptive Reuse

2020


Storage, in its current form, renders our belongings invisible and places them out of arm’s reach, expunging them from the mind’s eye. They begin to lose hold on our daily lives, and items that once held personal significance gradually become trifles. Storing, as a result, becomes an act of forgetting.

The Memory Box seeks to serve the function of storage as remembering as opposed to hoarding. This personal storage system allows users to cherish their fondest memories and celebrate the objects that they or their loved ones own. The architecture creates moments of visibility and interaction, and opportunities for an exchange of memories between storage users. They are encouraged to curate their rooms to tell their story, or the story of someone else. In doing so, each personalized room fosters cathartic moments of reflection.

Today’s storage methods place an onus on user privacy and visibility of contents. Memory Box, however, invites the public to view the diverse collection of narratives housed within each box. Floating catwalks surround the periphery of the storage volume, housed within a brilliant white mesh cage that levitates just above the existing structure. Visitors have the opportunity to join the celebration of storage and are encouraged to explore the curated vignettes into the memories of others. Memory Box, as a result, transforms storage, a conventionally private service, into a public good.

Enlivening Tradition

Adaptive Reuse

2020


Located in the town of Inami in the Toyama prefecture, the former Hokuriku Bank Inami Branch was the first reinforced-concrete, Neoclassical structure built and owned by the Hokuriku Bank in 1924. In response to Japan’s ageing and declining rural population, as well as the need to reinvigorate Inami, the Neoclassical bank is reimagined as a cultural performing arts center, where locals and visitors alike can gather and celebrate the heritage and traditions of Inami.

Noh is Japan’s oldest and its most poetic form of theater. The drama bridges the gap not only between the spiritual and corporeal domains, but also between the audience and performer. In this fashion, the new cultural center puts the audience in the performer’s shoes, creating moments of intimacy, participation, and reflection. Furthermore, as Noh was traditionally performed outdoors, this concept seeks to blur the lines between outside and in, all while being enclosed and protected from the elements.

The concept derives certain anatomical principles of the traditional Noh stage and reinterprets them in a contemporary manner that both honors the traditions of the craft, while propelling it into the 21st century. The hashi-gakari, traditionally angled at 105 degrees, connects the mirror room to the main stage, functioning as a passageway between the spiritual and earthly worlds. In the new cultural center, the threshold between the Bank building and the main performance shed serves the same purpose, connecting the audience to the performance, the old to the new.

This project was conducted as part of a RISD Advanced Studio in collaboration with local stakeholders and Taketombo, an architectural preservation organization based in Nanto.

Compositional Living

Adaptive Reuse

2019


The George C. Arnold building is a three story, 3,500 square foot building located in Downtown Providence. At 12.5 feet wide, it is one of the narrowest buildings in the downtown area.

The building sits in an aurally dynamic environment; its north facade is subject to the cacophony of a busy streetscape, while its opposite face experiences a relatively quieter climate. Uniquely positioned as a threshold between these contrasting domains, the George C. Arnold Building has the potential to contribute to the urban soundscape in which it resides.

Designed as a co-residency and incubator for promising, young musicians, the George C. Arnold building becomes an unintentional instrument in an urban symphony. Personal practice rooms, outdoor terraces, a recital hall, a recording studio, and a speakeasy; together, the sounds of music will be heard emanating from every corner of the building. In the vein of John Cage’s 4:33, those walking by will be subjected to an impromptu performance, varying throughout the day. No performance is ever the same.

Utilizing the building’s exisiting structure and proportions, a grid system was established to determine the intervention’s undulating form. The building’s narrow footprint was copied, partitioned into seven sections, and divided into a matrix, which became the “manuscript” upon which to compose the intervention. The rhythmic push and pull of the intervention creates a dynamic southern facade that allows each musician to interact with their neighbor as well as the outside world. Outdoor terraces function as stages where musicians can practice or hold an impromptu outdoor performance for unsuspecting pedestrians.

Reclaiming Frontiers

Adaptive Reuse

2019


Situated on an urban island in Downtown Providence, the triangular-shaped Avis Car Rental Center sits at a confluence of both pedestrian and vehicular traffic. While the building sees a constant flux of passerbys, it is largely ignored due to its mundane function and being overshadowed by the looming Biltmore Hotel next door.

Extensive research revealed that the structure had once occupied a majority of the site’s perimeter in the early 20th century, as well as functioned as a Texaco gas station during the 1960s. The adaptive reuse of the Avis Car Rental Center, therefore, transforms the trivial building by recalling its former selves. A roof structure, almost double the size of the building’s footprint, was implemented to reclaim the boundary it once occupied. As reference to the mid-century gas station, two striking pylons pull at the roof structure and anchor it to the ground.

In order to promote more biking and safer passage into Downtown Providence, the area beneath the roof functions as a public space and thoroughfare for bikers and pedestrians where they can gather and seek respite from the hectic surrounding traffic. The monumentality and accessibility of the intervention positions the Avis Center as a welcoming gateway into Downtown Providence.

Ming To-Go

Woodcut

2020


The Chinese take-out box is a ubiquitous icon of the Chinese American restaurant industry. Ironically, the original template design was patented by Chicago inventor Frederick Weeks in 1894, and its efficient, convenient, and attractive design has become a mainstay for Chinese restaurants across the country. These boxes, however, are often overlooked and discarded . In creating this print, I set out to transform the takeout box into an object that diners would value and perhaps keep.

Inspired by the ornate designs and deep blues of porcelain vessels from the Ming Dynasty, this reimagining of the takeout box turns an everyday, oftentimes disposed of container into an elevated and thought-provoking object. Imagery derived from Ming porcelain is reinterpreted to evoke Chinese cuisine: the leaves of bok choi sprout from the lid; fragrant steam flows around the container. The Chinese symbol 囍 ("double happiness") is printed on the side panels, bestowing upon the diner good luck and joy.

When the box is opened up, an abstraction of noodles greets the hungry diner. When laid out flat, a takeout box becomes a makeshift plate, a lesser known function of the container. Hidden on the inner panels reads a message of goodwill in Chinese to curious and passsionate eaters: 吃 饱 吃 好 ("eat well").