Microcosm, Section, and Project Statement

This is the microcosm drawing (1:500 at A1) in progress:


(For some reason none of my uploads would work last night or this morning so Dropbox it is) I am not happy with the drawing, but I’m not quite sure, why so suggestions would be great!

I did this section (1:200 at A1) in the process of drawing the NY section, which I plan on also printing at A1:


I’ve been attempting to write my project statement as the introduction to my portfolio, but it’s a bit long and maybe not saying what it should? Help on this would also be great:


The ceiling in the main concourse of Grand Central Terminal, New York, tells the story of pause: to brief pauses in people’s actions and long, lingering pauses in materials; to physical records of change and stark denial of change. Although the painted constellation ceiling appears to be the same as the day it opened, it is a replica constructed over the crumbling asbestos original. Many years later the new ceiling had turned black, supposedly from the smoke created by the trains. In actual fact, waiting passengers were constantly smoking in anticipation of their train and the ceiling bore a tarred testament to their pausing. It took twelve delicate years to restore the ceiling, and a single patch of dirty brick was left uncleaned to serve as a reminder of the change.

From this narrative, we can derive the pause as falling into two theses: the ‘perceived’ and ‘actual’ way people and materials pause.

  • Why do people pause? What are they doing? How do they pause? What impact does it leave on them and the environment around them?


  • Are materials actually ever in a true state of pause? If all materials go through (generally imperceivable) change, why do we design as if buildings will never change?


If we consider that “the museum is particularly well suited to serve as an experimental sociological model, since it is, on the one hand, a place where individuals develop an awareness of self and society … while on the other it exerts a three-dimensional effect within a verifiable and limited framework” (Lehmbruck, 2001) museums are primed to interrogate both facets of the pause.

Lehmbruck (2001) also stated that “the museum’s position in relation to the public can be defined as an interaction between sociological self-representation and self-realization. The museum curator here acts as a catalyst“. To this, I propose that the catalyst is rebranded a ‘facilitator’ to curate pauses – an action, an object, a feeling. The facilitator is about breaking automatic flows of action or consciousness and recognising the moments of lull, and demanding the inhabitant experiences an altered relationship with their reality and surroundings.

The Cloudscape is the facilitator and the curator; sculpting, creating and simultaneously documenting the pause.

The Cloudscape offers new forms of interaction between the subject, the pause, and the architecture. Physical boundaries are blurred, demanding engagement and consideration within new spaces that are constantly forming. The Cloudscape undermines and manipulates your expectations when you enter the familiar Grand Central by having grown and morphed each time you see it – serving to change your whole attitude in the station. You will question your perceptions of people, space and material during inhabitation; whilst as an outside observer unwittingly manifesting as the scrutinised subject in the meta-experience of the pause.

Through collecting experiences and architecture, The Cloudscape offers a true understanding of the travel hub which forms such an integral part of New York. It is by quantifying the change the pivotal Grand Central Terminal has seen across the hours, days, weeks, and years through growth, that the Cloudscape forms a microcosm of New York City itself.

One thought on “Microcosm, Section, and Project Statement

  1. The project statement is a good start but it needs to be shorter, aim for 200 words maximum. I think that there is a little work to be done on the language – tightening it up a bit, and on the ordering / amount of focus that you put on the various points. But we can quickly reflect on this on Tuesday, have a printed copy to be marked up. Your question ‘why do we design as if buildings will never change?’ is a strong statement. Rather than answer this with designing a building of change you have investigated this through a design research process that seeks to understand the meaning of change in the context of GCS, towards a designed object and environment that articulates this understanding of change at an architectural scale. Do not worry about the statement for now, it is good that you have the bones of it – as I say, it is easier to comment on a marked up version and we can do this quickly on Tuesday.

    As for the drawings, it is nice to start to see GCS nested in the city but in the drawing the station feels a little insignificant. You could increase its relative size of GCS in the drawing by bringing it forward and pushing the city back – exaggerating the receding perspective. Can you raise the viewpoint so that we look down into the station but also into the streets? – this would present you with the opportunity to show the pause trailing back through the city and emerging perhaps at subway entrances, etc, to show it penetrating the city – at the moment it feels too much like it is on the surface plane of the drawing.

    I am not sure that I understand the area on the right with the smoke going up the tower. Is the intention to show the smoke on the internal floors of the tower? This might be more clearly shown with a part cut-away.

    For drawing 2 I think the station architecture dominates here. Could you reduce the line weight, and then you should show us some of your structure as it is revealed through the emerging cloud. Then we know that we are looking at a drawing of your design in context and that this is more than a drawing to just be suggestive of environment.

    These are coming together – work on them more for Tuesday so that your design is prominent in drawing 2 and the sense of the pause penetrating the city is more apparent in drawing 1. Also work on your introduction drawing that will serve as your table of contents, on Tuesday we discussed this being the ceiling I think. As you introduce with the ceiling in your text it would be great to make it the subject of the drawing that orientates us in the structure of the project and portfolio. Looking forward to seeing all this together on Tuesday!

Leave a Reply