title | mobi(ha)us
studio | all fashionable paris - columbia gsapp ny/paris 2013
critic | babak bryan
As a transitional project between the New York and Paris studios of Columbia University GSAPP's NY/Paris program, Mobi(ha)us took as its site Paris' famed Palais Garnier. Developing upon the program of a fashion designer's atelier, this iteration incorporated a cafe and observation/viewing area. By focusing on the Opera's hidden, labyrinthine ballet school and accompanying residences, a stark contrast was drawn in relation to the intentionally extremely public and "see-and-be-seen" nature of the landmark's Grand Staircase and Theater. The duality of this relationship - that one building may have two entirely different sides to it, one structure with two faces - was embraced in the simple module of the Mobius Strip. The project became the study of the architecture of inversion: how might the extremely private spaces of the Ballet School residences be transformed into public spaces while the more public spaces take on a more cloistered nature. The resultant architecture implemented the Mobius Strip as a controller of density and porosity. When the strip in its simplest, most open form it is used to transform private spaces into public. When in its considerably more complex form, where through the process of cutting and bending the Strip is multiplied and the degree to which it is curved is exaggerated, the spaces created are significantly more intimate and are strategically deployed in previously open and public parts of the building.