Architecture of the oppressed
The Soho neighborhood in Manhattan is one of the most egregiously gentrified neighborhoods in the world, with restrictive zoning and bylaws set in place to keep it that way. This thesis proposes a layered approach to urbanism to create revolutionary space, bending and breaking these zoning ordinances to create a more equitable world. It builds community amongst underrepresented populations, whether that be based on gender, race, sexual orientation, or ability, through the use of alternative housing and mixed-use typologies. A tensile tower suspended over the city becomes a landmark of a more just and ethical world. The site for this project, a four-block area of Soho, is merely a testing ground, with further expansion across the city through self-organizational means the ultimate goal. The design connects to the existing infrastructure through hanging gondola, back to monumental anchors which are rooted in the landscape of buildings. These anchors also contain shared community resources, accessible to anyone interested, and the formal language mirrors socio-political issues of the place. Together the pieces work to form a cohesive experience, representing the needs of the local disadvantaged community and proposing new means of living, learning, and playing that questions the current system we live in.