Christian Unverzagt – Working Title

Bold statement about theater: The theater and the pervasiveness of its players, in the broadest sense, are now everywhere, and lets us all stage and re-stage the world around us, continuously, for better or for worse. Tangentially related statement about architecture: Architecture’s role to ground, support, and shape our daily experience due to this pervasiveness has never been so vital to each of us, and our world-building.

Probing question: If the theater can be everywhere, what pressure does it place on architecture?

The Set-up: 50 years after failing to construct a University Theater at the corner of Huron and Fletcher, the granddaughter of Eugene and Sadye Power have given a gift to the University for a new Power Theater Center on the long-forgotten site of Fletch park. The Constraints: Unlike the original plans, which called for a single theater within a 45,000 gsf building, the new gift calls for 3 theaters of varying sizes within a 90,000 gsf building. The footprint of the originally proposed building may only be increased up to 50%. What’s the experience of the so-called ‘public’, the theater-goer, performers, and production staff? How do you work between instrumental architectural production (drawing/models) and specific spatial qualities (lighting, sequence, encounter, etc.):

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Student Work

Xiaoheng Li – “Illusion”

The original site was one of the few remaining parks on the University campus; so the proposal is to change the site and move it onto an adjacent area, which had been occupied by coal bunkers for the power plan. In that way, it was possible to save the lawn and its trees.
The building is used to form a wall on the side of the park, with the reflecting glass, creating an illusion of a larger park during the day. At night, when the lights go on in the lobby and the glass becomes transparent, the theater really comes to life and has an appropriate presence.

Yanfeng Chen – “Theatrical Sprinkle”

“Theatrical Sprinkle” aims to expose theatrical moments to the park as a method of displaying engagement with the public by distributing these theatrical moments throughout the site. Formal, informal and public theaters are formed and interwoven to create events and activities as practice and performance. A large canopy is a unique addition to redefine these theaters and activate their external potentials of public engagement. Details, including materiality, louvers, curtains, etc, continue to expose theatrical moments to further public engagement. These overall systems and methodologies result in public engagement and exposure with the theatrical moments that are scattered along the site.

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