2021 Heart Finalist: Office of Tangible Space

Office of Tangible Space
Intimate Surfaces

Office of Tangible Space's proposal, Intimate Surfaces, speaks to the place - past and present. Times Square, typically filled with thousands of bodies and countless social interactions, has become quiet amidst the current global pandemic. In this time we have been asked to sequester with only our closest family and friends. Now when we are in public, intimate interactions with strangers necessitate extreme caution or cease to exist entirely. Intimate Surfaces creates a means to safely experience this intimacy again - and to serve as the catalyst to an even deeper human connection than before. Intimacy between people is largely based on the physical connection of bodies - yet the way we have embraced safety during the pandemic is through the separation of bodies (either through physical distancing, barriers, or masks). What if we were to create a new body - one that served to provide a means of safe separation, while still allowing a connection between strangers? Much of the work of Office of Tangible Space explores how design can foster connection with our surroundings. What happens when we develop more intimate relationships with objects and space? In Intimate Surfaces, we explore how the concept of how a new architectural body might bring people together. The plan uses large, gently curving wall structures to guide foot traffic through while safely framing intimate interactions between strangers. Intricately collaged images of textures of the human body inform a surface for the installation. Points of convergence are created within the four walls, inviting those entering Times Square to experience physical proximity and emotional presence. In doing so, participants are invited to re-engage, rethink what it means to connect, and to notice and safely experience a closeness to a stranger once again.



2021 Heart Finalist: Present Forms

Present Forms
Love Above All

Love Above All is a reminder that amidst the many crises and challenges we have faced this year, there is still love above all else that brings us together. Present Forms' proposal is a circular structure that reveals a hidden heart when seen from two points of view. It is a space to be entered, transforming the plywood window boards that have become emblematic of distrust and unrest into a structure that invites, includes, and lets people in safely during times of uncertainty. A series of scalloped arches creates a embracing frame for loved ones to engage with from all directions. A closed circle in plan is the strongest structural shape, and is an explicit acknowledgement of the incredible resilience that we gain when we act as a collective. Ultimately, it is a space that projects outward from its focal point to bring people together.



2021 Heart Finalist: Studio397

Studio 397 Architecture PLLC
Fragmented Conditions

This year plywood became a national dystopian symbol in response to protests & the presidential election anxiety. The material constraint of plywood and 2x4s fits into the installation’s representation of barriers and how these barriers can provide protection for some while making others more vulnerable. We decided to use rough carpentry structural hardware to maintain the aesthetic of the hastily boarded up storefronts. The installation consists of 3 series of chambers sized at different scales with different levels of perforated barriers from the center which represent the difference in the perception and the impact of the pandemic, the civil unrest and other related events from the perspective of different positions in society. There are 3 sets of these series of chambers that guide each user to a central location which represents, not only the epicenter of recent events but more importantly, a space intended to encourage socially distanced and well needed dialogue on their diverse understanding of our country.



2021 Heart Finalist: Studio Cooke John

Studio Cooke John
Love Is Still Here

Love is Still Here presents itself on the outside with high-gloss red, highly finished perfection reflecting the bright lights and activity of Times Square. The paneled wrappers embrace the viewers in each of the 3 modules as they move through Duffy Square; whether lovers sitting for a while, individuals passing through or performers in an impromptu set. But at the inside, on the flip side of the layered panels, untreated plywood displays the core. The core of raw, true, unconditional love. Text embossed onto the plywood surface at the interior reads, “I am here” and “We are here” in multiple iterations. The text references the carving of love notes into trees, the marking of “I was here” on bathroom walls and references the “I am a man” posters of the Memphis Sanitation workers strike of 1968. The text adds a tactile element to the experience while connecting the viewers back to the collective humanity of their fellow New Yorkers. The hordes of tourists are gone. But New Yorkers are still here.