Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
advisor: Doug JACKSON.
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Ben PENNELL: The spatial overlap between Madison Square Garden and Penn Station is an opportunity for programmatic intersection that is currently underutilized. A new proposal for this historically loaded site suggests combining two— one of of entertainment and the other of transportation—in an effort to blur the focal point of spectacle.
The juxtaposition of leisure and pragmatism allows Benn Station to adequately reflect the multiplicity of reality and to provide the capacity to navigate between invariably skewed perceptions.
Research and personal reflection reveal the human condition as it oscillates between (seemingly) totalizing realities that are mutually exclusive. In general, this unfavorable polarity is diffused by fantasy or technical intervention in an effort to maintain stability. Looming fear and desire have the capacity to disrupt serenity, but can these emotions ever fully evaporate? The iPod tells us that peace comes from inside the earbud. The office tells us that comfort is experienced from behind the glass. The cathedral tells us that God only exists within the light. But what about the sound of the subway hallowing? The smell of incense burning? The mystery of complete darkness? To combat our individualized form of detachment, Benn Station confronts the ontological contradictions fabricated by our perception, breaching an otherwise passive form of inhabitation. A voyeuristic juxtaposition of closeness offers the observer an experience that is simultaneously empowering and sublime.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
BP: Fear, sobriety, cold water, and architects better than myself.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
BP: Reading Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception. Listening to Frank Ocean, R. Kelly, St. Vincent, and Dead Kennedys. Watching the films of Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, and the work of Gregory Crewdson.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
BP: Weiss/Manfredi; Neil M. Denari Architects (NMDA); Thom Mayne; COOP Himmelb(l)au; and Steven Holl.
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