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Temple of Janus

Proposal for the Figment ‘City of Dreams’ Pavilion Competition
Roosevelt Island, New York, 2018

To live in New York City is to live amongst contradictory dualities.

There is the multi-faceted nature of our identities: we come from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, but are members of a common community; we relate to both our place of origin and place of residence; we want to be members of this community, but not lose our association with our original community. Conversely, there is the city’s attitude toward these identities: while cultural and socioeconomic diversity are touted as keys to the successful functioning of our metropolis, real estate speculation and the pursuit of growth push residents further and further to the peripheries.

In New York’s most optimistic future, the complex character of its residents is not only embraced, but elevated to the highest status. Named for the ancient Roman god of dualities and transitions, the Temple of Janus is a space for the celebration of the complex, the amorphous, and the fluid.

Constructed from reclaimed wood framing, the detritus of housing renewal, and the construction netting that enshrouds that process, the pavilion presents a strong symmetrical, platonic exterior shell, and an soft, transparent, ever-changing interior body. Based on the activities within, this interior body can contract for intimate events, and expand for large gatherings. 

The pavilion will not only provide space for people to experience the programs of the island, but also to reflect upon and discuss identity, housing, citizenship, and the meaning of membership in a community of 8.6 million.  

This project was a collaboration with Mengyi Fan