• SUPERCELL: Waging Arcology

    SUPERCELL: Waging Arcology
    new york NEW YORK

    Honorable Mention — $100

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    conner CALLAHAN: Manhattan is a contradiction, and its SUPERCELL megastructure, conflicted—an exterior that is highly public in its embracement of the community, but an interior geometry and program that is introverted and rejects its surrounding context. The design physically reveals a dichotomy and offers a playful critique of balancing outward versus inward agendas, while offering a destination to both engage and retreat from Manhattan.

    The SUPERCELL leverages the government tax on gambling to create its design—it is a physical manifestation of utilizing a public tax on private funds. Rather than an unnoticed deposit to the city, the SUPERCELL exerts these funds to recreate lost ecologies and topographies, throughout the site and on the building facade itself. The exterior offers three ecologies to stimulate visitors—Public (communal gardening, fields, spaces for pause); Productive (urban agriculture); and Perceived (visual relief from the city by interjecting a soft nature aesthetic into Manhattan’s hardscape.)

    In response to the demand for spatial and temporal ambiguity for both the casino and convention center programs, the SUPERCELL is arranged sectionally around an intricately complex and introverted matrix. The floors are composed of a series of micro-cosmic Circuits that create their own centrifugal forces, pulling the visitor through the building methodically and always inwardly. With its own micro-urban center, the SUPERCELL’s insides reject the city and create a perverse refuge from Manhattan that obfuscates time and place and allows for complete immersion into an artificial realm—an escapist architecture.

    Much like the thunderstorm, the SUPERCELL megastructure is an anomaly, affecting its greater outer context, but with an engrossing interior composition: it is a Waging Arcology.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    cC: Gambling, The Lotto, Taxes, Proctor Silex microwave, The Highline, Landform Building by Stan Allen, Paolo Soleri, Lee Bontecou, Permaculture, Autonomy/Self-sufficiency, P.M.’s Bolo’bolo

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    cC: Reading High Rise by J.G. Ballard; Ghosts by César Aira; Agent of Chaos by Norman Spinard; America, Looking Back on the End of the World by Jean Baudrillard; The New Yorker; and NPR. Listening to The Gravedigger V; John Leyton; Shadows of Knight; The Sparkles; Bill Haley & His Comets; Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs; Bo Diddley; JAMC; Echo & The Bunnymen; and Black Lips. Watching Cheers; The Ultimate Warrior; 2019: After the Fall of New York; Silent Running; Saturn 3; Queen of Blood; and John Carpenter films.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?:
    cC: Neil Denari, NaJa & DeOstos, David Garcia Studio, David Tajchman, Reiser + Umemoto, Leeser, Macanoo, and Sruli Recht.

    Additional credits and links:
    Josh Jow for visual aid and Shana Opperman for lots of refinement.


    craig SCOTT: A pretty strong start on the first board in terms of concept and overall form; but the scheme could greatly benefit from more spatial and/or material development of the interior, to better give a sense of the scheme’s proposed experiential quality—especially for the casino.

    marcelo SPINA: This project is interesting due to its refinement on the overall massing shape, its potential to incorporate various programs and figures in plan while maintaining a coherent and holistic approach to the overall building. Most interesting is the sectional treatment of the elevated mass. While heavily influenced by Neil Denari’s work, this is a project that looks much better in drawing (plan and section) than in 3-D, which is not itself a problem but should be taken seriously as one in any future development.

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