Chapter 05: Project CAPTURE

The project brief of the competition was to build a contemporary art and cultural gallery at any existing site within Chicago.

To have a deeper understanding about contemporary art and culture, I visited the state library to do an enough amount of research and information collection. After that, I travelled through Illinois to visit every art gallery that could be found, especially in Chicago, in order to study the visual and sensory impact that the inside and outside spaces brought to both the environment and the people.

I listed down a few key points to the spaces I wanted to present in my project. Afterwards, trying to find the perfect site for my project, Victor and I travelled to everywhere within the first week of the competition duration.

After we set our boundary in the middle along one of the streets of Michigan Avenue, we studied the human circulations, the traffic flow, the climates, the potential user groups of the site at different times on both weekdays and weekends. We observed the average height of the people for a base of the anatomy reference of both the interior spaces and the open area.

We interviewed the people about how likely they would desire a new art gallery here, and we interviewed the artist about how likely they would see their art pieces being exhibited and portrayed by the people.

After concluding that most of them were hoping to have peace to themselves within this city of hustle and bustle, I had made up my mind to make something that is simple enough to let people indulge peace, and at the same time bringing an impact to them with an architecture that combines form and function according to its main purpose.

CAPTURE, that was what I named my project, for I hope to bring the users into a space where the time seems pausing when they indulge in the art in quiet and peace.

For the overall structure, I decided to adapt to the elements from the contemporary arts——geometries. The facade was designed with the combinations of multiple polygons, and was structured with rough finished thick concrete plates. Some of the polygons were turned into openings, windows, and sky wells to ensure that both the transparency and the aesthetic were provided.

The structure was designed with the concept of brutalism, which interprets the strong determination in the artists and the impacts they and their masterpieces brought to the people in the world throughout the generations.

However, designing is not just about aesthetics, it is also about creating spaces that fulfills the users’ needs, anatomy, and expectations.

Contrasting from the structure, the interior route flows with a smooth curve of the wall, creating a simple circulation leading the users through the spaces——the gallery, and not to forget the important spaces such as offices, lighting and sound system control rooms, bathrooms, storage rooms, and the service rooms.

The interior spaces were designed with the concept of minimalism, which gave a sense of peace that comes with the emptiness, and also provided the exhibited art pieces with all of the users’ attention.

Aside from the gallery, the users were allowed to find a theater at the open space on the mezzanine floor. 

The theater served several purposes, which by day, an observation theater, where the users could walk along, or even lay down on the ramps and stairs, giving the city a different glance from an unique angle from the sky wells built in the polygonic facade, portraying the scenery of the street like picture frames; and by night, a movie theater where the films of art could be introduced.

Everyone has a vision. When the environment grows, the scenery captured by the frames develops too. CAPTURE not only provides a platform for the talented artists to show how they lead the art industry to a higher standard, it also provides opportunities for the people to capture the moments of all changes time is doing to the environment and this city.

After almost a month of hard work, I was finally done preparing the presentation materials. I had everything about my case studies, researches, developments, design principles and elements written down; the plans and axonometrics plotted; the 3D models and physical models built, the perspective views rendered, and the building walkthrough animated.

The deadline was almost due, it was time to submit my project for the competition. As Victor suggested, trying to prevent anyone of Minerva, especially the CEO, Jamie Lee Peyton, from discovering my real identity of the original inheritor of Minerva, my family name was written reversely in the competition application form——Henry Nosrevi.

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Just a week after the competition was over, one morning when I was still in my bed enjoying a good dream, Victor abruptly barged into my penthouse and woke me straight up with a champagne bath.

Before I could yell at him, he screamed in a high pitch voice that almost made me go deaf.

“Congratulations! Henry Baby!” in excitement, Victor cheered, “You won an award!”

“What?” rubbing my eyes with my knuckles, I sat up from the bed lazily. In a hoarse voice I asked, “What award?”

Victor gripped my arms and pulled me out of the bed as he hopped up and down,  “It's the Best Conceptual Developed Project Award!” in a joyous tone, he cheered.

“What?” I frowned, “That's a long name, I missed it.”

“It’s on the announcement!” mentioned Victor, showing his phone to me.

“Really?” I snatched the phone over from Victor's hand and squinted into the light of the screen, the result of the competition was shown.

As I took a careful glance at the announcement, I thought what Victor said sounded true, the announcement stated that Henry Nosrevi won an award——the Best Conceptual Developed Project Award, and I was invited to the awarding ceremony which would be held at one of the Peyton Group’s hotel a week later.

Wow, what a fancy award name, well although it was not the grand prize of the competition, it was good enough for me and my plan.

As I had won an award in this competition, I had earned myself a chance to attend the awarding ceremony, to take a glimpse of my enemy, Jamie Lee Peyton, and an open and fair opportunity to join the company, which would lead me onto the path of retaking Miverva.

“So.” there, Victor held my hands and swang them right and left, he raised his brows as he asked with a happy smile, “Will you bring me to the ceremony?”

I chuckled, “Of course.” I said, “You’ve been a great help, I owe it to you, and not to mention, you’re my best friend.”

Victor jumped as he applauded, “I love you! Henry Baby!” for letting him have the chance to take a look at the true face of Jamie Lee Peyton huh?

“I know.”

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