Buildings on the Edge

Bruce found a sketchbook. I remember one night after a day at work where I had been working on designing a house that floats above a steep hillside with the support of 4 large columns, I thought about structures and I did these quick sketches. It’s interesting to rediscover things we did a long time ago.

Pratt Project With Visiting Professor Mexican Architect Enrique Norton

Health/Gym Complex
Pratt, 1985

Scanning some projects from my past. Another Pratt project. The great Mexican Architect Enrique Norton, founder and principle of Ten-Arquitectos, was my studio professor for this one.

Enrique Norton asked us to look at structures not designed by architects but by engineers; that these structures epitomized modernity. We were to choose a structure and create a transformation of it into a conceptual building. But first we were to document the structure and draw it as a way of understanding it’s structure and how it was built.

I chose the Roosevelt Island Bridge for my transformation into a building; my building being a health/gym complex. Roosevelt Island is a narrow island in New York City’s East River. It lies between Manhattan Island to its west and the borough of Queens on Long Island to its east. The bridge is a lift bridge (center section lifts up to allow large vessels through) and connects Roosevelt Island to Queens.

I chose to put my building on Pier 51 on the Hudson at West Street and 13th Avenue. This pier was demolished and replaced with what is now called Pier 51 Playground. The irony is that the Chelsea Piers a little farther north was transformed in the late 90’s into what is now the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers.

Norton gave us a format; 11 x 17 strathmore paper. All drawings were to be done in ink. Ink is so unforgiving. A mistake and you have to start the sheet over. Yes the good old days before Computer Aided Design & Drafting (CADD).

click on images to enlarge

Context Map & Axonometric


Site Plan


Elevations and Section




Below are drawings of Roosevelt Island Bridge

Sections and Axonometric


Elevation and Plans


Finding Freedom Through Architecture – House that Wants to Fly

Looking Back

I find a kind of freedom in my art that helps me escape pain. As I look back on a project I did at Pratt, I realize that I was doing the same thing with my architecture. The curvature of my spine in my twenties caused intermittent episodes of pain. The conception of this house, about the desire to escape gravity, TO FLY, TO BE FREE, but not being able to, always tethered to earth, was a metaphor for the human condition. But perhaps subliminally, it was a metaphor for my deformed spine, wishing I could escape it.

I was honored when this project was selected to be in the book published by Rizzoli FORM; BEING; ABSENCE, Pratt Journal of Architecture, 1987

click on images to enlarge (except mobile devices)

opposite_houses_fly_01_highresSite Plan & Floor Plans

opposite_houses_fly_02_highresAxonometric, Section & Elevation



pratt_journal_housethatwantstoflyFrom the Book “Form; Being; Absence – Pratt Journal of Architecture
Published by Rizzoli 1987

pratt_journal_coverFront Cover of “Form; Being; Absence – Pratt Journal of Architecture
Published by Rizzoli 1987

Opposite Houses – “House That Wants To Fly” & “House Held Captive”

Revisiting my archives, here’s a project I did as a Student of Architecture at Pratt Institute in 1985. They were published in 1986 in The “Pratt Journal of Architecture – Form-Being-Essence” published by Rizzoli.

House That Wants To Fly

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Opposite Houses published in the
Pratt Journal of Architecture: Form; Being; Absence
Rizzoli Books 1986


House Held Captive


House Held Captive - Model

House Held Captive - Plan & Section