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Public Plaza Network| Manhattan, New York

Studio Erich Shoenenberger | Fall 2012 | Pratt Institute | New York | U.S.A.

Project By: Milad Showkatbakhsh

Public plaza network in night

According to the New York City Department of Transportation, streets make up approximately 25% of the city’s land area, and yet, aside from parks, there are few spaces to gather socially in the public space of the city.  The DOT has begun a program to reclaim under utilized public spaces to become redesigned as public spaces Communities are empowered to nominate spaces to become these plazas, which are then outfitted by the DOT with street furniture, planting, and paving changes.
Specifically, the program is to be a contemporary take on a public bath house, which could be understood alternatively a sort of urban “watering hole,” as a speculative infrastructural/social program that is a structure or structures that will house bathing facilities, bathrooms, a public drinking water supply, and other water features.  Public bath houses have a rich and varied history throughout urban life in many cultures, including Roman, Turkish, Japanese, Scandinavian, and Jewish.   In New York, The Asser Levy Public Baths is a notable example of the important hygienic and social role that baths played in the city in the first half of the 20th century.

Horizontal cuts through the form

Formal experiment

One of the entrances of the project




The project includes three stories. First and second floor are connected to the existing building. Their penetration to the existing building provide an opportunity for aggregation of spaces and make the interesting intersections where an accumulation of functions could happen in a way that the project will serve the existing office building as an escape from exhausting and stressful everyday life in wall street area in Manhattan, New York. Images A, B, and C are respectively first floor, second floor, and third floor.

Public plaza network

Above section is showing the internal organization of the project. Unique formal approach of the project concludes variety of experiments in different locations of the project  

The second floor of the project, the void. ( this image was chosen as the cover photo of inProcess 19)

This section apart from showing the complexity and interwoven relationship of the inside and outside of the project, it emphasizes on the connection to the existing building at two different levels.

First floor integration to the existing building  

3D printed model of the project

Looking to the central pool from the first floor integration to the existing building

Third floor integration to the existing building

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